Ahead of the release of their highly-anticipated, self-titled tenth album (due out April 1 via Crush Music/Atlantic Records), Weezer offered fans an in-your-face intimate performance of both new and old hits at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ. Opening with the virulent hammer-ons and punk bombast of “Hash Pipe,” the rock-vets (who have been melting faces since before I was even born) burned through their seven song set like there were matches between their toes.
Led by the bespectacled Rivers Cuomo, rock’s living paradox of nerdy-punk aesthetics, Weezer has always been a band trapped in its youthful, quirky interpretations of love and life. Not ones to take themselves too seriously, which is perhaps their most redeeming quality, Cuomo and his rag-tag group of 40-somethings can seamlessly reach across generations–which was why it wasn’t too surprising to see 10-year-olds and teens with their parents rocking out to Brian Bell’s incessant shredding on “Say It Ain’t So.”
Weezer then gave fans a brief taste of what the upcoming self-titled aka The White Album will feel like live, cutting through the noisy riffs of “King of the World.” The track, which is a subtly melodic throwback to their rowdy hey-day, sounds astronomically richer live. A first-ever performance of “L.A. Girlz” had fans swooning with Cuomo’s suave croons; while “Thank God For Girls” highlighted the band’s unconventional lyricisms and erratic rhythms. The preview was a somewhat solidifying gesture to fans that, ten albums in, Weezer is still everything it set out to be. Raw, uncut, voraciously haphazard; the new mingled almost without notice with the old, as they dived into the grungy anthem “Beverly Hills.” Bell of course, who is always a picture of possessed passion, killed it on his bluesy bass lines and talk-box.
Ending the afternoon by reaching way, way back to their self-titled debut (which came out three days before I was born no less), Weezer emptied out the storied love of Buddy Holly and Mary Tyler Moore. Between electric guitars riffs and harmonized choruses, Cuomo and company closed out the thirty-minute set with a highly flammable hit that left fans roaring.
Catch Weezer on tour this Summer alongside Panic! At The Disco and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, including show dates at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista on August 3 and Santa Barbara Bowl on August 5.
Words: Steven Ward