May 15, 2017
Touring off their much-anticipated 2016 release, The White Album, Weezer graced Charlotte with their infectious hits Friday night at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre. Most people congregated pre-show, sharing worries on whether the veteran band would only play off the newest album, which is a fantastic album, but not what you’d want to spend an entire Weezer show listening to. The band holds a deep-seated specialty in a large portion of their fans’ hearts from the albums that were released mid ‘90s to mid ‘00s. But before the massive signature W logo looming over the stage would become lit during songs like “Say It Ain’t So,” emerging Brooklyn rockers, Dreamers, started the 106.5 Birthday Bash concert off. Although I’d never heard of the band before, once they started up it was easy to see why they were paired with Weezer. Their compelling but simple song structures, Dreamers’ instantaneously catchy pop rock was almost an homage to early Weezer days, modernized for easy consumption.
Next up was Welsh natives, Catfish and the Bottlemen. The band didn’t drop a moment’s time and surged off the good energy left humming in the air by Dreamers. Catfish and the Bottlemen ramped up the party with a flood of wild noise and a careening light show. They swaggered through songs like their hit “7” and continued the set clearly riding high off the momentum of their second studio album, The Ride.
With the sun’s grey orange glow fading from the evening sky, Weezer takes the stage to a cacophony of “wooos” and “owwws.” The band’s set up is weird because they’ve chosen to forego amps, and plugged straight into the PA systems. Lunging quickly into the bass-heavy “Hashpipe” the entire crowd threw their drinks, their arms, their worries up to the legendary four-piece as a collective, “It doesn’t matter I’m seeing Weezer right now!!” Speaking of worries, the whole night threatened to be dampened by an impending thunderstorm, which thankfully stayed at bay until the short set had ended.
In a seeming nod to the weather, guitarist Brian Bell had even chosen to wear a snappy trench coat for the occasion. Bassist Scott Shriner hopped on top of the elevated drum platform in a rush of showmanship while frontman Rivers Cuomo’s impressive guitar shred geared the crowd up for an audience-led sing-a-long during the chorus of “Perfect Situation.” Nearly every person belted out each word of their setlist, turning the large outdoor amphitheater into a joyous community outing. Songs like ‘Island In The Sun’ were overtaken by the audience’s insistence on swaying with their buddies and yelling the lyrics.
In good stride, Cuomo conceded to the hundreds of people in front of him and held out the microphone to amplify our own voices. After “Say It Ain’t So” the band disappeared for a minute before coming back out to perform their two song encore. The band tirelessly ripped into “El Scorcho” and “Buddy Holly,” favorites off their mid 90s albums to complete the set. The whole crowd bounced, danced, and bopped their heads throughout the performance, yelping intermittently and smiling with full mouths. Although the entire set was only 13 songs, it was so full of solid, classic hits that no one could walk away complaining.