Live Review

Weezer, Brixton Academy, London

5th April 2016

To call tonight ‘eagerly-anticipated’ does a little to miss the point.

Weezer don’t visit the UK very often. Before tonight, their last was July 2011, when appearances at Sonisphere and T in the Park festivals were paired with a one-off date, also here at Brixton Academy. The last time they came close to a tour was a three-date stint in 2005. So to call tonight ‘eagerly-anticipated’ does a little to miss the point. There are screams long before a single note rings out, when the band’s light-up logo rises at the back of the stage (before it’s switched on). The idea of greeting songs like long-lost friends may be little more than a trope, but by virtue of the band’s relative absence from stages over here, tonight, it’s pretty much spot-on.

It doesn’t look lost on the band themselves, either. Bassist Scott Shriner at one point opts to gaze out atop drummer Patrick Wilson’s riser, visibly taken aback at the audibly devoted throng in front. Every number brings a singalong, save for instrumental ‘The Waste Land’ (although Scott gains what looks like a double-necked guitar/bass hybrid), and at numerous points frontman Rivers Cuomo lets the audience take over, offering his microphone in the air.

Even their set feels like a thank you; bar 2002’s ‘Maladroit’, there’s a nod to each of their previous eras, from ‘My Name Is Jonas’, ‘Say It Ain’t So’, ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’ and ‘Buddy Holly’ from ‘Blue’ (the final two set and encore closers respectively), ‘El Scorcho’ and ‘The Good Life’ from ‘Pinkerton’, ‘Hash Pipe’ and ‘Island In The Sun’ from ‘Green’, ‘Beverly Hills’… even 1996 B-side ‘You Gave Your Love To Me Softly’ gets a look in, with guitarist Brian Bell taking on lead vocals.

And by scattering about the five numbers on show from the freshly-released ‘White’ album, they’re able to both show how easily they slip in as Weezer canon; and see how much love there is already for the songs. ‘King of the World’, which we’re told is the “first UK single” is received as an insta-hit, opener ‘California Kids’ welcomes the band on stage as well as anything from their back catalogue, and ‘L.A. Girlz’, ‘Do You Wanna Get High?’ and ‘Thank God For Girls’ slip in seamlessly.

From anticipatory to celebratory, as the final notes of perma-smash ‘Buddy Holly’ ring out, Brixton’s expanse is a giant party. “See you at Reading and Leeds… and Glastonbury!” Rivers yells from the stage, a promise to return there’s 5,000 people in South London begging him to keep.

Photos: Emma Swann

Tags: Weezer, Reviews, Live Reviews

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