Chili Peppers Look Back, Matisyahu Climbs High At Weenie Roast

Dave Grohl's surprise return, Wolfmother's opening set also highlight California radio festival.

IRVINE, California — A week after Daddy Yankee cured Cinco de Mayo hangovers with his headlining set at KIIS-FM’s Wango Tango, L.A. rock station KROQ-FM also went south of the border, renaming its annual May festival Weenie Roast y Fiesta.

Saturday’s capacity crowd at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre was treated to free sombreros and mustaches and greeted by a mariachi band, which was pretty much the extent of the event’s Latin breadth.

Shakira sat this one out, leaving opening honors instead to Wolfmother, who played the side stage — or “Stage Dos,” as it was billed. The Australian retro rockers ripped through tracks from their just-released debut as the sun beat down on an enthralled audience.

(Click here for photos from this year’s Weenie Roast.)

Jam rock was also in the house, in the form of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. He took the main stage in the afternoon, slowing things down a bit after Finland’s H.I.M. As H.I.M.’s number-one fan, Bam Margera, held onto his prime side-stage vantage point, Marley mixed some crowd faves from Papa Marley’s repertoire with his own hip-hop-flavored material.

The globetrotting didn’t stop there, as Taking Back Sunday took the crowd back to their New York roots. Singer Adam Lazzara did his best Mick Jagger, narrowly missing his bandmates as he swung his mic in huge circles like a tetherball. The band closed its set with “A Decade Under the Influence,” much to the delight of the fans in attendance.

Whatever questions were left in the air after Dashboard Confessional’s existential set were quickly quashed by Rob Zombie. With what could have been the loudest performance of the day, Zombie left his mark by jumping into the pit, making his way through the seats and tearing through hits like “More Human Than Human” and a medley of covers that included “Sweet Home Alabama.” He actually managed to get people to dance, although they were predominantly female.

Zombie’s macho rock didn’t set the stage too well for newcomers Angels & Airwaves, former Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge’s new conceptual rock band. Much of the audience used the band’s set as a beer-and-bathroom break, taking the energy with them.

Dave Grohl, who performed with the Foo Fighters at last year’s Weenie Roast (see “Grohl’s Nipple Squeezed, Audioslave Play With ‘Fire’ At Weenie Roast” ), made a surprise return this year sans his band.

Perhaps previewing the long-discussed acoustic Foos tour (see “Foo Fighters Showcasing Their Softer Side On Upcoming Tour” ), Grohl strummed through four of the band’s best-known songs (including “Everlong” and “My Hero”) with the help of about 15,000 backup singers.

While Grohl was the special guest onstage, backstage that honor went to “American Idol” castoff Chris Daughtry, who attracted a long line of photo-op-hungry VIPs.

As day turned to night and after an intense set from AFI, Matisyahu proved that a reggae rapper could rock a rock and roll crowd. Although it took some time for his band to get past some monitor issues, Matis finally found his groove. Between his b-boy dancing and climbing to the top of the Marshall amps — which reached so high that he bumped his head on the jumbo screen — Matis kept everyone on their feet, especially with a beat-boxing solo that would make Doug E. Fresh proud.

By the time Matis closed his set with “King Without a Crown,” a very large, sombrero-wearing fan made his way onstage, dancing past the five security guards it eventually took to escort him off. Judging by Matis’ big smile, it didn’t faze the singer at all.

But the kings of the Roast proved to be hometown heroes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who closed out the night. Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith warmed the crowd up for a couple of minutes, building the energy until frontman Anthony Kiedis burst onto the stage. The Peppers played their hits and sprinkled in some new songs off their upcoming Stadium Arcadium. Much of the crowd already knew the words to the single “Dani California” but not to two other new tracks, “Charlie” and “Tell Me Baby.”

“I’ve seen a lot of good shows here over the years,” Kiedis said, pointing to a fan 20 rows up. “I saw Jane’s Addiction from that seat in 1990.”

With that, of course, Kiedis gave the person who occupied that seat at the Weenie Roast his own story to tell.

For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.