Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Weezer at Hard Rock Live. Hollywood, FL

I'm going to do my best to be as unbiased as possible when writing this review. That's a lot to ask from a woman whose kid is named Jonas. But I digress...

While waiting for the set to begin, Lisa and I turn our attention to the corner of stage right. We see a glow in the dark soccer ball, and a man was dribbling it with ease and finesse. Lisa looks and me and whispers: "Is that Rivers?"
I answered that I thought it was,and we had our confirmation minutes later when the lights came off, he kicked the ball offstage, and stepped over to center stage to rip into the opening chords of "My Name is Jonas".

Each song that followed was stage lit in the color that corresponded to each album it is featured on: Blue album tracks were lit in blue, Green album in green, Pinkerton in gold/amber, Make Believe in black and white, etc...

Rivers greeted us as "Residents of Hollywood, Florida. USA. Planet Earth" and went on to tell us the four of them were "Representatives of the Planet Weezer". I half expected him to say they were from the planet Pinkerton, in a nod to the "space opera" that never was, and Pinkerton eventually became. But perhaps I am just a superfan that knows too much?

The band members were energetic and playful with each other, and Scott Shriner stole the show from his side of the stage: Shaking his butt, dancing in circles, and generally having a great time.

Rivers took to the microphone early on to ask the crowd: "Are you the kind of audience that likes to get sprayed with water?" This was met with cheers, of course. He made it a point to say: "Some audiences are not into that." It struck me as funny that he asked if it was ok if he doused everyone with water.

At times, a chord was fumbled or a lyric accidentally mangled, but the guys were having such a great time that the hiccups didn't seem to matter much.

The show was cranked up even higher when halfway through "Troublemaker", Rivers decided to hit the floor and play his guitar while singing and dancing on a chair about ten rows back. Naturally, the crowd went nuts. He ran over to our side of the stage in the 100s (Our seats were in 202) directly below us and jammed an awesome solo as people rushed to the stairs and crowded around him taking pictures, which he obliged.

"Say It Ain't So" and "Photograph" were highlights; but a huge grin spread across my face when they played "Don't Let Go", which is Jonas's favorite song. I recorded about 30 seconds of it on my cell phone, and you'd have thought I gave the boy the greatest gift in the universe.

What happened next in the set can only be described as magical. I absolutely love the song The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn). It's unlike any of their other tracks. It comes from the highly underrated Weezer (red album), and the swagger and bombast of the song and its lyrics are hilariously outrageous.
The band broke into a four part harmony that was absolutely breathtaking. The fact that all of them have solid vocals is something I've long loved about this lineup.

They predictably closed with Undone (The Sweater Song), but the very end of the set was very cool. Brian Bell finished the final notes of the song, everyone placed their instruments on the floor, and jumped onto Pat's drum riser. Each member of the band took a drumstick or two and they had a fun little 1-2 minute drum solo that made everyone smile. They took their bows and exited the stage.

The set was only about 90 minutes long, which seemed rather quick to me until I considered the length of their tracks and albums. They played 20 tracks total, so they were hardly lacking in variety.

Here is the set list in its entirety:

My Name Is Jonas
Hash Pipe
El Scorcho
Surf Wax America
Keep Fishin'
We Are All on Drugs
Dope Nose
Island in the Sun
Say It Ain't So
Perfect Situation
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Buddy Holly
Don't Let Go
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)
Beverly Hills
Pork and Beans
Undone - The Sweater Song

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: Juke's "Down Low Cool"

Miami-based Juke packs a wollop with their new EP, "Down Low Cool".
The brand new title track opens the disc, with singer Eric Garcia conceding to living with the blues while trying to find the positive: A girl with long blonde hair, not wasting time crying for lost loved ones, and drinking to laugh at foes. The track also features a killer mouth harp solo.

Two tracks from 2008's "Lungbutter-The Blues Basement Tapes" are revisited and given a much-needed swift kick of energy.
"Mile-High Freak" and "Tiem" sound fresh and revitalized. Guitarist Evan Lamb really lets it rip on "Mile High Freak", building up to a full-on band jam before finding his way through a solo that showcases his talent.

The album doesn't lose momentum with "Sande's Song": a beautiful, folk-tinged, plaintive ode to Garcia's late mother.

The EP closes with 10 Miles to Go, in which Brian Lange pounds the drums with ferocity. Instead of petering out at the end, "Down Low Cool" closes with a wild growl.

Now that's what I call dirty blues!
Check out: for videos, music, and upcoming live performances.