An Inland Invasion of ska-flavored nostalgia

Special to The Times

Through its five-year history, KROQ’s Inland Invasion has boasted the reemergence of the Sex Pistols, Duran Duran and Billy Idol, interspersed with a smaller host of up-and-comers inspired by these artists. The retro thrust set the show apart from the station’s similarly act-packed jamborees, Weenie Roast and Acoustic Christmas, and attracted a decidedly older audience -- nostalgia seekers who listened to 106.7 FM when it was known as “Rock of the ‘80s.”

Perhaps there are no more punk and new wave bands to reunite, or maybe the whole idea (also a regular theme at other mega-festivals such as Coachella and even the basis of a TV show on VH1) is just played out, but Saturday’s show at the Hyundai Pavilion in Glen Helen almost abandoned the “flashback” concept entirely, offering only two acts from the station’s pre-'90s golden era, interestingly both ska-flavored: Fishbone (flanked by relative newbies Kasabian and Bloc Party on the small stage early in the day) and Madness on the main stage later.

In matching suits and requisite shades, Brits Madness provided a spirited set of old hits including the twinkling, midtempo “It Must Be Love” and the simplistic, crowd-pleasing sing-along “Our House,” along with selections from its new release, “The Dangerman Sessions, Volume 1,” including a hornadorned cover of the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On.”

While not exactly elder statesmen, members of another island groove-based band, 311, announced it was their 15th anniversary, and they marked it with a ferocious, body-rocking performance of old tunes and material off their latest, “Don’t Tread on Me.” Hip-hop turntable beats and a raucous drum jam made for the most rhythmic portion on the main stage.


Other strong sets were served up by Beck, whose band included a spastic tambourinist-dancer interpreting each number, and Weezer, whose frontman, Rivers Cuomo, even addressed fans in the cheap seats, performing “Island in the Sun” remote style, with acoustic guitar in the middle of the arena.

Along with bands such as Garbage and, to a lesser extent, Oasis and Cake, these eccentric and unique headlining showmen not only made up for the lack of regroupings but they also solidified their place as idols for a new generation of KROQ listeners.