Gig Review by Steve Pearson with Photography by Jason Broadhurst

Tonight is a real treat for the fans here in Manchester, seeing Weezer play live in the UK is a rare sight (something lead singer Rivers Cuomo apologises for during the show) so there is a lot of expectation in the crowd. Would they deliver?

Weezer-44

Before Weezer we are entertained by The Orwells, a 5 piece from Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago.

The Orwells-8

They are still a relatively new band, they released their debut album ‘Remember When’ 5 years ago and earlier this year they released their 3rd album ‘Terrible Human Beings’. Before this gig I had read that they had a reputation as being troublemakers when playing live so I was looking forward to what would unfold during their performance.

The Orwells-3

They kick off their set with ‘Black Francis’ their homage to the Pixies frontman. Other stand out tracks are ‘Vacation’, a great song reminiscent of early tracks by The Strokes and then ‘Who Needs You’, another fine Pixies influenced track with Frank Black style singing. They close their set with ‘Double Feature’ which is also the final track on their latest album. The band perform well tonight but seem to be rushing as they blast through 9 songs in 30 minutes and the lead singer Mario Cuomo looks disinterested. (He shares the same surname as the Weezer lead singer but they are not related.) I find out the day after this gig that they had to cancel an in-store performance as Mario’s throat is suffering which goes someway to explaining tonight’s lacklustre display as he didn’t interact at all with the audience or even his own band and then walked off halfway through the final track without even acknowledging the crowd. As I say, I won’t be too harsh as clearly the lead singer was not able to perform as he would have liked.

The Orwells-7

The Orwells Setlist: Black Francis / Fry / They Put A Body In The Bayou / In My Bed / Vacation / Gotta Get Down / Heavy Head / Who Needs You / Double Feature

Weezer-34

Weezer originally formed in 1992 so are celebrating 25 years as a band. One thing to note is that lead singer Rivers Cuomo (who just doesn’t seem to age by the way!) and Patrick Wilson (Drums) are founding members. Brian Bell (Guitar) joined in 1994 and Scott Shriner (Bass) joined in 2001 so they are a very settled band. They have an outstanding back catalogue and have been one of the most consistent bands over the years in terms of output. Their debut “The Blue Album” released in 1994 is a classic and the track ‘Buddy Holly’ thrust them into the mainstream receiving heavy rotation on MTV. The excellent accompanying video directed by Spike Jonze used footage from 1970s sitcom ‘Happy Days’ with the band performing in a diner and proved very popular winning 4 awards at the annual MTV Video Music Awards. Since then their success has continued particularly in the U.S where their last 8 albums have hit the Top 10 and 20 million record sales worldwide. More recently they have hit a real purple patch with their latest 11th album ‘Pacific Daydream’ being released 2 days after this concert which makes it 3 albums released in 3 years.

Weezer-13

The band casually stroll on stage and we are immediately given a rare treat with the opening track ‘The World Has Turned and Left Me Here’. Taken from their debut album, they haven’t played it live in over 2 years. The nostalgia of their debut album continues with ‘No One Else’ and ‘In the Garage’ another track they haven’t played in a long time. In fact, tonight they play 8 tracks from their classic debut album. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo asks for the spotlight on the crowd so he can “see my guys, you are our inspiration” which leaves everyone swooning!

Weezer-4

‘Surf Wax America’ is another of many stand out tracks tonight, imagine The Beach Boys ‘Surfin’ USA’ with added rock. It may be a cool crisp Manchester evening but it’s always summer when Weezer are playing! The hits continue with ‘Pork and Beans’ where all 4 members singe a line from the song. It should be noted that their harmonies all night are outstanding! ‘Thank God for Girls’ taken from last years ‘The White Album’ shows another side to the band with Rivers almost breaking into rapping, and it works perfectly. It’s also at this point that they admit they don’t come to the UK enough and announce that they will come every year from now on which receives a huge reaction.

Weezer-26

On ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’ which was their original debut single, Rivers announces he is going to go all Liam Gallagher on us. He zips up his top and sings the first verse slightly crouched with arms behind his back which naturally receives a great reaction from the Manchester crowd.  It’s a superb song with a slow build up that reaches a brilliant crescendo. ‘Island in the Sun’ is a full audience singalong and they close with a trio of hits with Rivers donning a massive Mexican Sombrero for the highly infectious ‘Beverly Hills’. It has been a superb show with a band who have come to play what people wanted to hear tonight; the hits. They come back for an encore and deliver a supercharged ‘Buddy Holly’ with full ticker tape parade leaving us all in amazement at what we have just witnessed; a 5 Star Performance!

Weezer-37

Before tonight I hadn’t seen Weezer live in 15 years, they were truly worth the wait and I for one can’t wait to see them again soon; remember guys you promised to come back every year!

Weezer-24

Weezer Setlist: The World Has Turned and Left Me Here / The Good Life / No One Else / California Kids / In the Garage / Surf Wax America / El Scorcho / Pork and Beans / King of the World / Thank God for Girls / Happy Hour / A Ballad for the Fallen Soldier / My Name Is Jonas / Undone – The Sweater Song / I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Mike Posner Cover) / Island in the Sun / Feels Like Summer / Hash Pipe / Beverly Hills / Say It Ain’t So Encore: Buddy Holly

Weezer-21

See the full Weezer and The Orwells photoset here.

Leave a Reply