Live Review: Weezer @ Bumbershoot 9/5

photos by James Bailey

Sure, Weezer may have had their fair share of detractors in recent years, citing the band’s output of late as being chart-chasing, unimaginative, no-brainer rock, but let’s be honest, Weezer songs were never exactly Shakespeare in the first place. There’s not a whole lot of difference between singing about hash pipes or living in Beverly Hills and singing about sweaters or Buddy Holly. How people can take a completely un-serious album like the Blue Album so seriously, considering its clear that the band never did, still escapes me. Granted, their earlier stuff is nautical miles better than their recent albums, but let’s not pretend this band ever set out to do anything other than make fun, acutely self-aware, academic slacker rock to begin with.

Even before said academic slacker rock band arrives on stage, nearly everyone in the very fan-heavy audience is already making W-shaped hand salutes to the band and each other with such gusto as if it was the winning move in a Bat Signal-themed shadow puppet competition.

Suddenly the lights descend and Weezer charge on stage, kicking off tonight’s proceedings with ‘Hash Pipe’. The audience doesn’t need to be told to sing along. ‘Troublemaker’ follows with Rivers Cuomo, dressed in a blue and black striped t-shirt (which for some reason he lifts on more than one occasion to show his left nipple), gray jeans, green jacket, white sneakers, and wearing his trademark specs, now singing on his knees and then getting up to rock out with the mic stand like any stadium rock star should.

The unmistakable intro to ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’ then slowly starts up, causing everyone in a five block radius to cheer and answering everyone’s question about when it would feature in tonight’s set. Rivers replaces the song’s dialogue snippets at the start of the album version of the song with “This is my favorite guitar! It has wonderful sustain! And tonal balance!” over the opening riff as he stands on stage in a classic metal pose with his feet about six feet apart.

Blue Album favorite ‘Surf Wax America’ follows, along with new song ‘Memories’ from their new album Hurley, ‘Perfect Situation’ from Make Believe, and ‘Dope Nose’ from Maladroit.

As if there was any doubt over the extent of their roster of hits, ‘Say It Ain’t So’ then strums into life to massive applause and ends with a classic metal guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place in a set by The Darkness.

Rivers then ducks backstage and returns with three giant beach balls to usher in a solo version of ‘Island In The Sun’. “This is from me to you Seattle!” he shouts, and everyone joins in to sing the ‘hip hip’ parts with two little jumps as if the entire stadium has chronic simultaneous hiccups.

More gifts to the crowd include a rubber chicken (that Rivers was previously using to play guitar) and a flurry of toilet rolls as the band play Blue Album opener ‘My Name Is Jonas’.

Rivers then decides to wander around the stadium while singing and jumps off the stage to run over to climb on top of a porta-potty to universal and delirious encouragement. He continues to holler into the microphone and then unexpectedly pulls a harmonica out of his pocket for a quick mid-song solo.

The band then play a cover of MGMT’s ‘Kids’ and its singalong keyboard riff and off-the-wall lyrics has everyone thinking it could have easily been a Weezer song in the first place. Rivers then rushes backstage again to don a ridiculous blonde wig to cover Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ that looks and sounds more like a skit at a summer camp talent show, yet it’s a million times more entertaining.

Tonight’s show ends with ‘Buddy Holly’, much to the audible delight of everyone attending, with Rivers doing star jumps in time to the music (just like the Fonz does in the song’s famous Happy Days-themed music video) and the band gradually assemble around the drum kit so that all five of them can hit something at a faster and faster tempo until Weezer’s set melts into a cacophony of noise and comes to a glorious close.

High: I was thinking that Rivers must be in pretty good shape to pogo along to the music with such height and consistency until I realize that he’s ACTUALLY GOT A MINIATURE TRAMPOLINE ON STAGE!!! I guess he didn’t go to Harvard for nothing.

Low: Not being close enough to catch any rubber chickens.

In a Tweet: Quirky nerd-rock legends with a list of hits as long as your surprisingly long intestinal tract never fail to entertain.

Did you see the mighty Weezer play live at Bumbershoot this year? What was your highlight? Did you catch any rubber chickens? Let KEXP know in the Comments section below!

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One Comment

  1. Sean Knox
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Only went to the show to watch them perform “Cant stop Partying” and they didnt play it...but later realized its probably because lil wayne is still in jail...but pretty sure they could of found another rapper they do sound all the same.

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