There may be a song on the setlist tonight, about war, entitled ‘The British Are Coming’, but Weezer needn’t be too afraid of these Londoners. Having waited for them to return to the UK for more than five years, it takes only for a not yet illuminated ‘W’ to be lowered at the back of the stage to send a sold-out O2 Academy Brixton ballistic.
Tonight’s show follows the release of Weezer’s fourth self-titled album (destined forever to be referred to as ‘The White Album’) – something that has traditionally marked a new cycle for the band. In spite of this, they recognize exactly what fans want to hear, with all but four of the twenty songs in the set are singles from eras past and present. – undeniably a list destined to be matched a best-of album one day. They begin with their latest single and ode to fun on the beach ‘California Kids’, before making a temporary stop at the glorious self-pity of 1996’s ‘El Scorcho’, en route to the seminal pop-punk track where it all began – 1994’s ‘Buddy Holly’.
Most chatter comes from nervous sounding drummer who Rivers assigns duties to sing the second version of ‘Pork and Beans’, only to sing ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet (“This is the sooouund, of my soul!”). However, this doesn’t look as though quite as soulful a sound is coming from frontman Rivers Cuomo who is somewhat still and speaking very little throughout the set. It is a shame that for most of the set he doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself nearly as much as everybody else in the building.
The main set closes with a triumphant and somewhat brutal (or as brutal as anything labeled ‘nerd rock’ can possibly be) rendition of ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’. It is a defining moment at least twenty mad fans could be seen trying to tear apart (or “destroy”) a sweater in accordance to the lyrics. As it turns out, sweaters are harder to tear apart than one might think, but the crowd refused to give up until they are triumphantly waving sleeves in the air.
Destruction has never been so ridiculous and playful. With announcements by Rivers that a darker “Black Album” is on its way, one could be forgiven for feeling that tonight was an intense attempt to ceremoniously and spectacularly shed all joy they have left, before descending into doom and gloom. One can only wish them the best of luck if that is the case, as nobody leaving could possibly ever imagine Weezer in a truly dark place.