Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017

Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017Weezer + The Orwells @ o2 Academy, 27 October, 2017

It’s the last day before British Summer Time ends but for a packed crowd at Birmingham O2 Academy it ‘Feels Like Summer’ all over again thanks to the tour of the same name coming to town. I’ve wanted to see Weezer since they formed back in the early 90s but have never got round to actually catching them at a live show. I don’t even know why to be honest, but tonight made the 20 year wait worth it.

The night began with support band The Orwells. I noticed in the merch stand that their t-shirt read “Who the f*** are The Orwells?”, but I’m not sure that we fully found out. In their 30min set their sound went from Iggy Pop, to The Strokes, to Blondie, to late 80s/early 90s British indie. Don’t get me wrong this wasn’t bad in any way, it just felt like the 5 piece from Illinois were striving for identity. I would sum it up as a sound that the Pigeon Detectives or some other mid 00s UK indie bands may have made if they had grown up in the US. The lead singer was a captivating presence and as such I couldn’t turn away. They are worth a listen and they did warm up the crowd quite nicely.

When Weezer came to the stage at 830 (due to the gigs early curfew) I really didn’t know what to expect. Today saw the release of their latest album “Pacific Daydream” so I did wonder if it would be a set that reflected the new material. This wasn’t the case at all as we were greeted with a set that reflected the majority of their best material. When you break down the set it was ultimately a fanboy’s dream, with 8 tracks from their 1994 “Blue Album” featuring in the set, together with a good mix of other well known sing-a-long tracks in the strong 21 track set.

I was really surprised and pleased to hear two tracks from their sophomore album “Pinkerton”, one of their greatest and yet most underrated records.

Rivers isn’t the most talkative of frontmen with the set tending to go from track to track in a very sleek and rehearsed way. Aside from a few technical difficulties at the very start of the set, the whole thing was delivered to perfection. The stage had a simple but wonderfully effective layout and we had a flying W lit with about a hundred individual white bulbs as the backdrop. Weezer have always been a rock band with a pop edge, however, in some ways the new material is almost the other way round. ‘Feels Like Summer’ is without a doubt a pop song but it has got that very distinctive Weezer feel to it and at the point that it was played, it certainly felt like summer in the venue as the sweat poured from the crowd. The crowd was an interesting mix of fans that had been there from the start blended with a few newer fans. Their unique, cheerful sound and catchy lyrics meant that even some of the lesser known tracks had become sing-along anthems by the time that they had reached their conclusion.

There were so many highlights throughout the set for me, especially as this was the first time that I had seen them live, but a clear standout track for me was ‘Island in the Sun’. Essentially the venue sang the track along with the band – I don’t think there was anyone not singing along and the band played to that fact, turning down their volume in the chorus so that we could be heard. At the end of it, we had a little reprise where Rivers promised us that they would come back soon (please do). I loved the curveballs that they threw into the set including a new instrumental track (that I found out was called) ‘A Ballad to the Fallen Soldier’ and a cover of the Mike Posner track ‘I Took A Pill in Ibiza’. The set was definitely a crowd pleaser and frontman Rivers made sure that there was every opportunity for them to display it, they were in fine voice. The lyrical tweaks of including well known Birmingham bands (Black Sabbath and Duran Duran) as well as ensuring that our city was mentioned several times was fantastic. When the main set concluded with Blue albums ‘Say it Ain’t So’ there was only one place that I wanted it to go in the encore and I am glad to say that my wish was granted.

They came back and played ‘Buddy Holly’ igniting a shower of red and white confetti from cannons on either side of the stage towards its conclusion, and with one final bow from the band they finished to rapturous applause and cheers. They delivered a set that encapsulated a perfect Friday night and a great way to start the weekend, you could almost say that they left us in a bit of a ‘Pacific Daydream’.

Setlist

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here (Blue)

The Good Life (Pinkerton)

California Kids (White)

No One Else (Blue)

In the Garage (Blue)

Surf Wax America (Blue)

El Scorcho (Pinkerton)

My Name Is Jonas (Blue)

King of the World (White)

Thank God for Girls (White)

Pork and Beans (Red)

Happy Hour (Pacific Daydream)

A Ballad for the Fallen Soldier (new track)

Undone – The Sweater Song (Blue)

I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Mike Posner cover)

Island in the Sun (Green)

Feels Like Summer (Pacific Daydream)

Hash Pipe (Green)

Beverly Hills (Make Believe)

Say It Ain’t So (Blue)

Encore:

Buddy Holly (Blue)

 

Reviewer: Imran Khan

Photographer: Ian Dunn

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