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2008 KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta

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The 2008 installment of KROQ's Annual Weenie Roast Y Fiesta was decidedly nostalgic this year with sets from punk legends Bad Religion, Orange County rockers the Offspring and the biggest force in metal in its history, Metallica. It was a return to force for the latter band as they finally broke out of a touring holding pattern and "escaped" from the studio to show why they are one of the loudest and most commanding bands in live music today or ever

Following a small benefit concert this past Wednesday at the Wiltern, Metallica hit the stage with such force and bombast that it was hard to believe that had only done a handful of shows since 2004. The legendary four-piece tore through "Fuel" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" at the open of their set. Led by the ever powerful James Hetfield, the volume and power that comes with a Metallica show is unlike anything you will experience. They kept their setlist limited to pre-St. Anger material and did not showcase any new songs. It was hard to tell that it had been almost four years since they had toured as they three guitar/bass wielding members weaved a delicate choreography on stage with one player never in the same spot for more than a song. Guitarist Kirk Hammet's shredding solos are still some of the most intense and charged out there as each solo break was a showcase for his amazing talent. The 16,000 + capacity crowd at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, who had braved the fierce heat of the day, loved every second of it.

Throughout the day, Each band professed their love and admiration for the headliners and legends of the bill. Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath said how lucky it was to be sandwiched between two of the greatest punk rock bands in history, those being the Offspring and Bad Religion. Each performance seemed to fit an overall theme or mold and it was pretty apparent that KROQ had this in mind when planning the event. THere was however one odd choice on the bill, that being the Raconteurs.

Their inclusion on the bill was a head scratcher, not by any means as a question of the quality of their music, as Jack White and Co. have never sounded tighter and more precise as a unit, but more of a question of why in a lineup of mostly rock/punk would a largely blues based band be included. Those questions however were set aside once the band hit the stage with the ever stoic Jack White in the front. Their set was a masterful lesson in rock and blues as they played a large selection from their newest album Consolers of the Lonely before closing with "Steady as She Goes." White continues to prove to be one of the strongest guitarists in music today, and the paring with Brandon Benson has created a larger, more dynamic sound compared to that of his mainstay group the White Stripes.

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The heat in Irvine was sweltering, the sun was hot, but the temperature was only turned up higher by the end of the night when Metallica hit the stage. With a large scale tour imminent and a new Rick Rubin-produced album in the fall one can expect 2008 to be a year dominated by Metallica.