To look at them you’d think they’d not aged a single day. Yes, there’s the odd few wrinkles, and flashes of the odd white hair, but, remarkably, Californian emo outfit, Weezer, look more or less exactly like they did when they first burst onto the scene in 1992. Twenty five years later and they are still going, still touring, still making albums, and still getting the likes of me to buy tickets to their gigs.
They’ve upped their game since I saw them last. Then it was the usual student indie hangout, Manchester Academy, providing the venue. It was probably the best gig I’d been to in 2016, and definitely the most fun and singalong at that. Now they’re back, and they’ve upgraded to the more fanciful Manchester Apollo (at a stonkingly extravagant £45 a pop too) with another new album to plug.
And it is no ordinary album either. Pacific Daydream is their 11th studio album but marks a departure from their alternative Beach Boys surf, emo pop thing they’ve had for the past two decades. Lead Singer and lead guitarist, Rivers Cuomo, said it featured songs that were “like reveries from a beach at the end of the world [… as if] the Beach Boys and The Clash fell in love by the ocean and had one hell of an amazing baby”.
The Beach Boys and The Clash falling in love? It would never last.
Weezer and the crew are meticulous in their preparation. They aren’t the kind of band that just rocks up and belts out a few of their hits. The now standard Weezer W is ever present, all lit up and shining like an Elvis tribute. And for most of the show it’s exorbitantly red. For all the talk of the new albums, we begin with one from the Blue Album, ‘The World Has Turned and Left Me Here’ And carries on in much of that vein. Indeed, most of the Blue Album got an airing, which seems strange given that there is a new album to plug and they want to move on from the old hits.
I’m only here for the hits tho. There’s a staple of Weezer songs that people just love. When I say people, I do mean Weezer fans, for you either really dig Weezer or you don’t. And on cue they go through those songs, relentlessly. El Scorcho, Pork and Beans, Surf Wax America, King of the World, My Name Is Jonas, The Sweater Song, Say It Ain’t So and so on. There are moments where the new stuff is played, but given the propensity to focus on so much of the old, the new pales into a respite.
It would seem most of the crowd are here for the old stuff anyway, which is interestingly a varied bunch. I thought there’d be more old folk like meself who have grown up with Weezer, but most age groups seemed to be well represented. As for the Apollo, it does these gigs like a well oiled Ford production line. Although as much as I love Weezer and the boys, I’m not sure they really rocked the place, indeed, in that new price bracket, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed.
Verdict: A band that knows what to deliver when playing live to a dedicated set of fans. There was plenty of hits for the Weezer followers to gorge on with some sprinkling of new tracks and a new direction.