Weezer took time off recording the band’s new studio album to stretch its legs on the road. The tour made a stop at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night long enough for Rivers Cuomo and the boys to play a power-pop set filled with some of their more well-known songs.
The show kicked off when opening act The Last Internationale took the stage to Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” playing over house speakers. This band has been all the rage lately. Lyrics steeped in politics, produced by guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and Nightwatchman. The trio recently added drummer Brad Wilk, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.
The three piece drives through the first four songs with a punk mentality. Singer/bassist Delila Paz introduces a song titled “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Indian Blood,” and Wilk proceeds to thud out tribal rhythms. Just when you think it’s going to be all about revolution and fist pumping, Paz pulls out an acoustic guitar and goes all twangy-pop. But by the end of the set, guitarist Edgey Pires is ripping it up again. And Paz hands off her bass to jump into the crowd and finish the song as one of the masses.
As the backdrop comes down and roadies scurry in front of the giant winged W, filled with bubble lights, Weezer’s lead singer and guitarist Cuomo comes onstage with a yellow hardhat to tune his Stratocaster. The crowd goes crazy. He gives a coy smile and leaves.
But a few minutes later, Weezer strolls back on stage. The quartet gathers its instruments and burst into “My Name Is Jonas,” the first song from the band’s debut album in 1994. This sets the tone for the night. The audience is in for a Weezer history lesson.
The packed crowd is a varied bunch – rockers and geeks, young dudes and middle-age men, women of all ages. Weezer is more than geek chic. Weezer is the underdog we all root for. Weezer is power-pop, the type of rock that never dies. It’s the type of rock that makes fun of all the other types that take themselves too seriously.
Cuomo’s crunchy guitar ushers in “Hash Pipe.” The crowd roars. And when the band transitions into “Perfect Situation” the sound cuts in and out, plays hell with Cuomo’s guitar. But the crowd’s singing fills every gap. Cuomo waves his hand like a conductor. “Let’s hear it,” Cuomo says.
The crowd sings, “Ooohhhhh oh.”
And Cuomo says, “Now, turn it up, as loud and as beautiful as you can.”
The band goes into more recent territory on “Troublemaker.” Weezer then dips back into a rarity with a B-side from 1994 with “Susanne.” Then things get ramped up with a fan favorite “Surf Wax America.”
Cuomo gives an ode to Myrtle Beach before launching into “Island in the Sun,” which immediately causes beach balls to bounce through the crowd. But as all concert beach balls do – they end up bouncing into the faces of the band. It’s the crowd that’s bouncing as the band launches into “Beverly Hills,” complete with guitarist Brian Bell nailing the talk box part.
Bassist Scott Shriner takes over the vocals on “Dope Nose.” The energy barely dips. Cuomo talks about being in the studio recording a new album. He introduces a new song, “Back to the Shack.” If this song is any indication, it’s obvious that the band is right on track to make another Weezer classic.
To mark the difference between the future and the past – the band blasts into “Say It Ain’t So.” The crowd responds by going insane, screaming every word. Cuomo seems comfortable letting the crowd do the heavy lifting on the older songs.
But you can tell Cuomo is having fun when he kicks into the newer songs, “(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and “Pork and Beans” – introducing the band and letting each sing a line along the way.
Then comes “Undone – The Sweater Song,” possibly the geekiest way to describe a mental breakdown ever. Someone throws a sweater onstage. Cuomo swings it over his head, slings it back out. The song builds in solos until the giant W flashes, and the whole song comes down in threads of feedback.
Cuomo trades places with drummer Patrick Wilson for two songs – “Photograph” and “Song 2,” a Blur cover. Cuomo is more than capable on drums, and Wilson rocks a front man stance on guitar and vocals.
The band leaves the stage, but the lights don’t come up, and before the crowd can work up a good “WEE-ZER!” chant, the band is back for an encore. The group jumps into “Memories,” which has sound issues, but they work through them. Cuomo nonchalantly announces that Weezer will be back in September, and boom; we’re singing “Buddy Holly.”
There’s energy transference from the crowd to the band, they feed off it. By the end of the song, the whole band is gathered around the drums with sticks, pounding away like kids. The big finale is four guys messing around, just having a good time after playing a few tunes.