Words by Natalie Blacklock
All photos by Tam Schilling // IG: @tamcamimages_
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Following on from their star-studded ‘Indie Rock Roadtrip’ tour across the US, Weezer were back Down Under for a brief but jampacked visit, with two headline shows slated (in Melbourne and Brisbane) to coincide with their inclusion on the bill for KISS’ final Australian show in Sydney. If you’ve never seen Weezer in the flesh before, there’s something wonderfully wholesome about these US indie rockers. Their quirky brand of nerd-rock won over a generation of ’90s grunge kids, and the intimate yet excitable crowd assembled at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall on Sunday night was no exception. Once inside the foyer doors, the merch line enveloped everyone in sight, snaking back at least 30 metres as many-a Weezer OG fans – many of whom are now 40-somethings, some coming to shows with their children, stood shoulder to shoulder with the new wave of 20-something listeners queuing for their prized piece of merch emblazoned with the iconic W logo.
Opening the evening’s proceedings were Brisbane natives, Regurgitator. Formed in 1993 from the independent underbelly of the local music scene, Regurgitator have been a constant voice of self-parody, effervescent enthusiasm and shameless comedic spirit for the best part of the last 3 decades. With Quan Yeomans on Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards; Ben Ely on Bass, Keyboards and Vocals; and Peter Kostic on Drums, the band have earnt themselves a reputation for their risqué song titles and heart-on-your-sleeve live shows. Over the years, Regurgitator has become the appropriate moniker to describe the assembled mass of styles, sounds and attitudes, fuelled as much by an unmitigated irony and geekish nature as an irreverent take on themselves, corporatisation of culture and degradation of human social behaviour – something that is as relevant now as it was almost 30 years ago. From takedowns by radio shock-jock Alan Jones, living and recording in a ‘bubble ‘in the middle of Federation Square in Melbourne, playing shows dressed as zombies, to their latest foray into children’s entertainment, Regurgitator are just about as transformative as musicians can get and are now appealing to a whole new generation of fans. The band strode onto the stage to the strains of Belinda Carlisle’s 1987 track, Heaven Is A Place On Earth, dressed in matching nuns’ habits, launching into an hilarious and cheeky 1-2 punch of I Sucked A Lot Of Cock to Get Where I Am and I Will Lick Your Arsehole. Following up, the band smash through one of their earliest tracks, 1995’s Track 1, dedicated to a young punter attending their first show!
Following an outfit change, to a white denim look adorned with an empathetic YES message, (presumably) in support of next week’s Referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, the band hit their stride with singalong classics from 1997’s ‘Unit’, Polyester Girl and I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. The crowd bounced along as frontman Quan Yeomans reflected on the band’s first time playing with Weezer back in 1996 at the now defunct Livid Festival hosted at Davies Park in Brisbane’s West End, alongside a stellar line-up including Silverchair, Powderfinger, Tumbleweed and Fireballs to name but a few. Regurgitator swung back into business with the ever-infectious I Wanna Be A Nudist and Blood and Spunk before the band revisited the ‘Unit’ record for Modern Life and The World Of Sleaze. 2004’s Bong In My Eye and 1994’s Nothing To Say had the crowd like putty in the palm of their hands and Kong Foo Sing; the apparent tale of Frontman Quan Yeomans sending Janet English from Spiderbait a box of the Kong Foo Sing Fortune Cookies in an effort to get her to go out with him, got the crowd involved once again. The ‘Gurg ended their set with Black Bugs and the iconic ! (The Song Formerly Known As), as well as a sneaky little riff-homage to Metallica’s Enter Sandman, the room was steamy, the crowd were sweaty and most importantly, ready as ever for the main event, Weezer.
Toto’s Africa blasts across the arena as the lights dim as a pre-prepared audio track of switching radio stations emulating the in-car experience of finding the perfect ‘driving tunes’ for our imminent ‘Indie Rock Roadtrip’ ensues. Cult favourite, My Name is Jonas, opens the show as the on-screen visuals designed by award winning cartoonist Alec Longstret ramp up displaying all manner of Weezer ‘Easter Eggs’ throughout. Guitarist / Keyboardist Brian Bell inserts himself early, offering a well-placed Harmonica solo, to close out the track. The up-tempo mood continued as the band dropped Beverley Hills, from 2005’s ‘Make Believe’. A cheeky change in lyric from the song’s title to Brisbane, Australia in the final chorus earnt Frontman Rivers Cuomo adoration from the intimate yet excitable crowd. Instrumental ditty Return To Ithaka and The Good Life flowed seamlessly, with all eyes on Bassist Scott Shriner’s impressive custom double neck featuring a four-string Bass on top and a six-string Guitar below.
The third and final single from the band’s ‘Green Album”, Photograph, didn’t miss a beat. With his black-rimmed glasses and shaggy hair, Frontman Rivers Cuomo dished out a riff-heavy introduction to the iconic 2008 ‘Red Album’ cut, Pork And Beans. Following up, Cuomo led the band through an impassioned rendition of crowd favourite, the sultry El Scorcho, exclaiming “Let’s do another ‘Pinkerton’ one” before delivering the punchy Falling For You. Undoubtedly, the standout track of the night was 1994 ‘Blue Album’ cut Undone (The Sweater Song). With a huge crowd sing-a-long, Frontman Rivers Cuomo and Guitarist / Keyboardist Brian Bell jumping across the stage emulating Angus Young from AC/DC’s unforgettable stage moves and Cuomo exclaiming to the crowd “Brisbane! You’ve been ‘Weezered’”, it’s little wonder why.
Now at the halfway point in the set, Cuomo switches to acoustic guitar and, for the first time ever, launches into a live version of Running Red Lights, his blockbuster 2020 collaboration with The Avalanches, which reached #35 in that year’s triple j’s Hottest 100. The crowd was in awe and phone torches glowed in unison around the arena. Continuing on the solo penchant for a moment, Cuomo delivered the emotive The World Has Turned And Left Me Here, a song he tells the crowd he wrote about a girl he met while attending Community College in 1991, before Weezer had even come to be. Cuomo then called Bassist Scott Shriner and Guitarist / Keyboardist Brian Bell back to the stage for “3-part harmonies” on Susanne; a touching ode to the receptionist at Geffen Records, who was nothing but nice to the band when they were first signed in 1993. Only in Dreams, the last track from Weezer’s 1994 ‘Blue Album’ started in solo mode, but soon had the whole band back together with Drummer Patrick Wilson, signalling his return with booming Drumlines across the track. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn) enters the kitschy zone of the set, complete with a cowboy hat, interpretative dance and plenty of spirit fingers. The set returns to form with a power-pop moment on Island In The Sun followed by an all-in “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi” chant led by the ever-charismatic Frontman. Say It Ain’t So channelled a more alternative / emo vibe than the majority of the set, with Bassist Scott Shriner providing expert backing vocals, complementing Cuomo’s lead. Changing pace, Cuomo led the band and crowd on piano for Perfect Situation and All My Favourite Songs before taking a moment to ask the crowd if they were enjoying the ‘road trip’, confidently stating that “it’s not official til Dad takes a family photo”, corralling the arena into the lens of his Polaroid Camera before taking a happy snap. Shriner backs up Cuomo’s vocals on ‘Blue Album’ hit Say It Ain’t So before smashing through the ‘Pacific Sunset’ portion of Run, Raven, Run from 2022’s ‘SZNZ: Autumn’ which originally appeared on Cuomo’s demo ‘Alone XI: The EWBAITE Years’, released in 2020. Hash Pipe, from 2001’s ‘Green Album’ saw Cuomo’s slacker lyricism power through the arena, taking this reviewer back to memories of singing along to this track in the car as a nine-year-old – honestly, if only my parents knew I’d still be singing it 22 years later. Closing out the main set was Thank You and Good Night from the band’s 2022 EP, ‘SZNZ: Summer’.
Returning to the stage for a brief encore, Weezer launched into instrumental cut The Waste Land from 2014’s ‘Everything Will Be Alright in the End’. The jangly punk energy of Surf Wax America was well-received by the crowd, before the band closed out the night with another iconic ‘Blue Album’ cut, the ever-popular Buddy Holly. Leaving the stage to huge cheers, Weezer have undoubtedly put on one hell of a show for their final outing on the Australian leg on their ‘Indie Rock Roadtrip’, which now rolls onto Singapore.
With thanks to Morse Code PR