Must crosses genres like a cross-dresser changes clothes. Getting airplay on Classic Rock and Alternative stations across the nation, and packing clubs for both the under and over 21 sets, they’ve got a Ziggy-era Bowie vibe with enough modern energy to leave the listener wanting more. When Must took the UMB Bank Pavilion (St. Louis) stage at 7 p.m., opening for the Stone Temple Pilots and Aerosmith, the bulk of the crowd were still parking their cars. However, they garnered an increasingly positive reaction from the growing crowd following each of the 4 songs they played, despite opening with a rather complex techno beat marred by a sickly guitar amp. But this didn’t faze the band members, lead singer Dave Ireland in particular, who was comfortable at all times and very much in command of their material. Ireland demonstrated an impressive range, from plaintive whispers, to all-out, from the toes, rock belting. Bassist, Kai Lemke, displayed a solid mastery of his instrument and contributed sturdy, soaring backing vocals to the mix. Guitarist Charlie O’Neil, dressed from head to toe in black duster and skullcap, added a multi-faceted palette of sound to the sonic blend, from dreamy, chorusy splashes to gut-wrenching slabs of raw distortion and an obvious feel for dynamics and playing “for the song”. Drummer Reuben Alexander was impressive in supplying some chunky percussive chops, and it was a surprise he even bothered relying on electronics at times.
The big surprise of the evening was that the Stone Temple Pilots’ lead singer, Scott Weiland, looks healthy, despite his current personal drama (addiction, wife-beating charges, and divorce). The band could not have sounded better. We were treated to a blend of old hits and new material, and the DeLeo brothers are a force to be reckoned with. Man those cats can play!
Many rock critics greeted Aerosmith with a healthy dose of skepticism, assuming they were well past their prime. WRONG! This is a band at the absolute peak of their skills, and so much better live now than they were 15-20 years ago there can be no comparison. Mr. Tyler absolutely nailed his vocal parts-- the guy actually seems to be getting better with time. Joe Perry displayed an awesome collection of chops and his guitar selection was out of this world! Brad Whitford gave some impressive solos (particularly on “Last Child”), surprising many that he played something besides rhythm. The rhythm section of Tom Hamilton (bass) and Joey Kramer (drums) was a potent and solid force. Those guys STAY in the pocket. Heavy rains put a damper on the crowd on the lawn, but few left. In fact, most stuck it out to get absolutely soaked at least twice. And it was well worth it.