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STP Rock SXSW

By Chris Cantore
|  Monday, Mar 22, 2010  |  Updated 12:12 PM EDT
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Chris Cantore

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After a 20-year [on-and-off] relationship, Stone Temple Pilots are back!

 "I'm not dead, and I'm not for sale," were the closing words from Stone Temple Pilots' controversial frontman, (and former Coronado resident) Scott Weiland, at the Austin Music Hall. The lyrics from the STP hit "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart" carried a different sentiment Thursday night when the band blasted through a powerful 90-minute South by Southwest (SXSW) set. Weiland, healthier than I've seen/heard him in years, slithered around the stage with the same intensity of his earlier days. Backed by the amazing DeLeo brothers (Robert and Dean) and drummer, Eric Kretz, Weiland hit the stage donning gray slacks, leopard belt, collared shirt, skinny tie and sunglasses. 

Opening with "Vasoline," from 1994's Purple, Stone Temple Pilots nailed other '90s classics, including "Creep," "Plush," "Sour Girl," "Sex Type Thing," "Big Empty" and -- my personal favorite -- "Wicked Garden." With an album due May 25, STP premiered new tracks to the enthusiastic SXSW capacity crowd. "Hickory Dichotomy" and "Huckleberry Crumble" were decent blues-inspired songs, but their forthcoming single, "Between the Lines," showed the most commercial promise. During the two-song encore, Doors guitarist Robby Krieger joined them onstage for a special rendition of the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues."

In a sea of buzzworthy indie rockers, Stone Temple Pilots not only proved they are still relevant but, more important, how to put on a professional, focused, bombastic rock show.

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