March 31, 2016


Weezer Is Still That Band You Love (And Love to Hate)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Pharrell have two things in common: They do not age, and neither does their music, really. For whatever reason, they have tapped some pop-chugging Fountain of Youth that keeps both their faces and their catalogs wrinkle-free. The biggest Blue Album songs and every single early '00s Neptunes hit will keep spinning in perpetuity as long as sound is still a thing, as Cuomo and Williams can make even the most familiar hooks and straightforward choruses sound refreshing and, simply, fun. 

But unlike Pharrell, who's constantly treating the studio like a beat laboratory for his musical experiments, Weezer have spent the last twenty years working the power chord for all its worth. In Weezer's case, their music ages less like a fine bottle of wine and more like a can of Surge that someone escaped the clutches of recycling in dad's garage: That sugar bomb is a time capsule, but it's a time capsule that goes down smooth in the sugary way you were craving the second you crack open the can. 

This isn't a bad thing: If anything, it's a rare thing. Weezer is one of the only bands out there that can say that they've managed to trade on the timeless pull of their first two albums while churning out several releases that get a good number of people still screaming out the choruses.

This was the case in Brooklyn on Thursday night (Mar. 30), where Weezer played what can only be described as the VFW show of your high school dreams all grown-up. Warsaw, in Greenpoint, is a giant concert hall connected to a Polish community center; it's a popular venue that makes great use of the cavernous space, in that it's the hands-down best place to be packed in shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of like-minded people belting out the choruses of your favorite songs from a past life. 

For those in the back, it was impossible to see Rivers and the guys, save for the occasional glimpse of Brian Bell's mane mid-solo or the neck of Scott Shriner's bass -- and even then, they were largely obscured by the hands held up in W formation and the fleet of phones raised to FaceTime in friends for the chorus of "Say It Ain't So." (But really, though, never do this 'cause the people behind you will hate you even if your faraway bestie's day is made.) 

Weezer has just begun touring in support of its tenth studio album and latest self-titled release, dubbed the White Album, which drops on April 1, so cuts from the record were peppered throughout the brief set. They kicked things off with "California Kids;" "Thank God For Girls" and "Do You Wanna Get High?" made appearances, too, as did the new single, "King of the World," which was met with enthusiastic cheers and prompt trips to the bar and bathroom. (No one's missing "El Scorcho" for the sake of waiting in line, let's be honest.) 

Even the less beloved (and arguably despised, depending on who you talked to) hits, like "Beverly Hills" and "Island in the Sun," got the full-on hysterical sing-along treatment. "Say It Ain't So" was downright fantastic, and by the time "Buddy Holly" reached its second "WHOA-OH AND YOU'RE MARY TYLER MOOOOORE," everyone's phones were firmly tucked into their pockets, because skipping out on that gleeful, communal shout-fest is a crime in and of itself.

The show could've been longer, for sure. Ten records in means you're obligated to mine the favorites for the set list, which means "No One Else" or "(If You're Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You to" or, hell, even "Troublemaker" took a backseat to newer tracks ("Back to the Shack," "Cleopatra"), which the band is assumedly less sick of playing at this point. Had Weezer gone on for two hours, every single person bouncing like a Converse All Star-clad pogo stick in that enormous ballroom would've heard the majority of their wish list realized.  

Here's hoping Rivers & Co. mix it up on this White Album jaunt: It's one thing to favor the new stuff, but quite another to keep trotting out the same hits when you've got so many to choose from. Rivers and Weezer can keep drinking from that Fountain of Youth (it's totally just a giant Surge bubbler, c'mon now), because if this latest trek proved anything, it's that Weezer songs -- from 1994, 1998, 2004 or 2016 -- will always merit that one moment where the entire rooming is screaming the same words.