A First Timer’s Perspective: How Weezer Made me Religious
On my last week of March, I would never imagine to find myself standing in the same room of a childhood band— one that made me wildly and faithfully sing along to its memorable chorus on Beverly Hills. The playful lyrics of the song planted itself firmly, having satiated my more carefree self back then, and revealing just how much the sensation had remained unforgotten. Their old hits, ones I’d find blasting on TV came back from years ago, resurfacing from MTV’s video era of early 2000s. I felt spot on lucky to be caught in the middle of a Weezer show, with their vintage and modern sounds fused in a Brooklyn venue, Warsaw.
Warsaw, at first, seemed like an unconventional and incredibly intimate space for a band like Weezer to play. But inside a polish national home that sold pierogies, where notable musicians ranging from Patti Smith to smaller indie acts like The New Pornographers have performed before, nothing for me felt missing or disenchanted. Instead I was completely immersed and nostalgically invoked by a place having hard wooded floors, a disco ball, and old-fashioned chandeliers dressing high ceilings, making it all have an appearance of a high school auditorium.
Only the opener was a fraction of the show that felt out of place. Coming into it, I wondered if it would be a good idea to have this single guy segue one of the most outstanding, well-known bands, and convincing myself that this could work. This could work. But it didn’t. To have Big Data open the show with a Dj set was a particularly odd and rather disappointing choice. The guy yawned in front of me and I think I yawned right after. Only a Mac laptop was in sight and nothing else. Was this just a venue worker playing his favorite songs? And did this guy live under a rock only listening to Biggie (I mean I love Biggie too, don’t get me wrong). He takes off his jacket and that’s about exciting as it gets for the audience to clap and cheer. You have a song featuring Rivers Cuomo about the infamous contractor who leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency—Edward Snowden—and you only play songs people already made, with small changes here and there, so why not play any of that?
The venue packed too easily. Even the one bartender I almost ordered a drink from manifested her frustration from Warsaw’s lack of pause. The line surrounded the entire block and impressed me with how dedicated these overzealous Weezer fans are, especially dressed wearing crowns and shirts flaunting the cartoon-version band. As the impatience and unsteadiness crawled throughout the room, Weezer finally started around nine with the newest song off White Album, “California Girls,” and then followed with a Weezer classic and very lovable tune, “My Name is Jonas.” You get a little dose of everything, and you hear the room come alive, singing and swaying like happy sailors when “El Scorcho,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “King of the World,” “Island in the Sun,” and “Undone (The Sweater Song)” come on. And despite mixed reviews of their new songs, I found that they were executed brilliantly live. The double neck bass wooed me, the frisky energy of Brian Bell (guitarist), and the smile on Scott Shriner’s (bass player) face made it all the more heartwarming to witness. The spirit was everywhere with the old and new songs. Any second a beach ball could smack behind your head, or you were smacking it. And what shocked me most was that during “Do You Wanna Get High,” the room barely contained the obvious, pungent smell. It’s possible that the whole room ignored the subtlety to full-heartedly enjoy their time.
Soon enough, Rivers Cuomo, dressed in white from head to toe, finally ended on his look-alike, Buddy Holly. Everyone started forming a W with their hands when all finally wrapped up and the bows came down. At the moment I thought here’s Mr. Cuomo, rebirthed as our essential alt-rock God. And a room like this makes you think, this could be a dream but it’s not. I’m alive for this moment. Too fucking alive. And Thank God.
Steve’s (A More Experienced Weezer Fan) Perspective: Nine Lives With Weezer
By: Steve Murillo
Ninth time is still a charm. After eleven years of seeing the Weezer boys live, they still manage to find a way to my heart by just simply being themselves. There have been numerous phases of jumpsuits, trampolines, drummers playing guitars, and subsequently, fill-in drummers, but nothing beats the basic ingredients of four guys with glasses playing crunch pop hooks. In a set that had threat of hosting another “greatest hits” rest home, tracks from more recent records such as “The British Are Coming” and “Do You Wanna Get High?” prove their merit to the immediate eruption of screams from the crowd. Those cries are only further amplified with sweet surprises like deep cut b-side, “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly.” When it comes to the classics, “Say It Ain’t So” and “El Scorcho” still stir me all these years later, and that feeling still surprises me each time. It really shouldn’t, but the proof is in the pudding…Jell-O, baby.
(Steve, in the green shirt, playing guitar with other fans for a 2008 jam session with Rivers Cuomo)
Listen to the just released White Album on iTunes here.