The Stone Temple Pilots have a unique niche in today’s popular music as perhaps the most critically despised best-selling rock band since the halcyon days of Grand Funk. Several factors contribute to this status. First, there’s the overheated iconoclasm of indie alternative rock, which makes scapegoats, particularly popular ones, necessary. Second, STP sound an awful lot like Pearl Jam wannabes, and Pearl Jam, remember, were dismissed as Nirvana wannabes from the start. Third, there’s the indisputable grungy genericness of the band’s sound: to the two musical styles on their second album, Purple (songs that sound like Pearl Jam and songs that sound like Alice in Chains), they add a third, typified by an exceedingly silly ballad called “Pretty Penny.” Finally, it has been demonstrated in interview after interview that the band’s lead singer, who goes by the name Weiland, is a pompous ass and borderline sociopath who in turn spouts exruciatingly banal philosophical ruminations (“There’s gotta be some form of sexual pleasure dogs get from humping your leg,” he told Rolling Stone) and demonstrates dangerous behavior (pitching a beer bottle across a bar in a Details piece). All of which is to say that sometimes critics are right. Meat Puppets and Jawbox open. Friday, 7:30 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1140 W. Harrison; 413-5740 or 559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Cuffaro.