Weezer (O2 Academy Brixton, 05/06/16)

There may be a song on the setlist tonight about war, called ‘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 giant ‘W’-shaped light (still not illuminated) to be lowered at the back of the stage, to send a packed 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. Despite this, they recognise exactly what fans want to hear, sixteen singles from eras past and present. It is a setlist destined to be on a best-of album one day. Weezer begin with their latest single and ode to beach parties ‘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 Patrick Wilson, who frontman Rivers Cuomo, assigns duties to sing the second verse of ‘Pork and Beans’, only to sing ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet (“This is the sooouund, of my soul!”). The sound of frontman Rivers Cuomo’s vocals at least sounded soulful, though it’s unfortunate that 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 rendition (or as brutal a rendition as anything labeled ‘nerd rock’ can possibly be) of ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’. It is a defining moment, as 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 tonight could  ever imagine Weezer in a truly dark place.

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