Weezer washes up for deodorant-sponsored secret show at the Dunes Inn Hotel in Hollywood
The veteran alt-rockers get back to their roots with the help of body spray, My Chemical Romance and that dude from "Lost."
Miracles, as the Insane Clown Posse might helpfully point out, are all around us. Just look at Weezer. Fourteen years ago, they were a band at rock bottom: "Pinkerton," the group's painfully vulnerable follow-up to its multi-platinum self-titled debut (better known as "The Blue Album"), was savaged by critics and spurned by fans with a harshness that dwarfed frontman Rivers Cuomo's most embarrassing narratives of romantic failure. All these years later, a generation of teenage fans knows all the words to "The Sweater Song" and have probably never read Spin magazine. Water into wine? Close enough.
Things could certainly be worse for the alt-rock lifers, who played a secret show on Tuesday night at the Dunes Inn Hotel in Hollywood as part of Axe's One Night Only music series. (Rapper T.I. played the first installment last month in New York City.) Cuomo earned his paycheck, name-dropping the body-spray brand at least three times during the band's one-hour show.
But, in fairness, Weezer rocks for indie label Epitaph now -- why not let someone else pay the bills? Secret or not, the group had no problem filling the hotel's courtyard for its open-air performance. By 7 p.m., the hour of the venue's supposed door opening, the commandeered Home Depot parking lot across the street was full, and lines stretched around the block in both directions. Once inside, the crowd was made up of Hollywood scenesters in search of the requisite free food and drink. Trays of sliders and hot dogs and pizza? Check. Open bar? Oh, yes. Graying industry folk, tattooed Warped Tour veterans and, mostly, actual Weezer fans, who ranged in age from young enough to be "Pinkerton's" babies to old enough to have sung along when the band first hit MTV.
The band's 2000s comeback and continued resilience -- whatever your feelings on Weezer's inconsistent latter-day output -- deserves credit, as does their hit-heavy live set. It was surprisingly reliant on "Blue Album" material and the best of their more recent crowd-pleasers.
Before the music started, Jorge Garcia, the star of "Lost" and the face of Weezer's latest album cover, took the stage just before 9 p.m. and introduced the band as "my new best friends." The actor's been drawn into the world of Weezer since the group chose his picture to grace the cover of "Hurley" -- a collection named after his "Lost" character or, as the more cynical have alleged, in synergy with the group's commercial connection to the surfwear brand of the same name.
As with the deodorant references, all's well that ends well: Garcia, clearly pleased to be recognized, ably joined the band on vocals for "Make Believe" single "Perfect Situation," which begs the question: How did "Lost" go six seasons without Hurley karaoke? Cuomo, shaking with the energy of a giddy puppy, hopped around the stage and managed to make his way through the crowd to the second-floor balcony, onto the makeshift bar and even into the men's bathroom during the course of the set, all with vocals and glasses intact.
We'd be remiss not to mention My Chemical Romance joining Weezer for a Nick-, Joe- and Kevin-free performance of "My Name Is Jonas," which was louder than it was collaborative but exciting all the same. It's that excitement that seems to drive Cuomo these days; for a singer once so emasculated, he couldn't have been more confident on stage. He probably smelled great too.
-- David Greenwald
For more of David Greenwald's coverage, visit ThisIsBrandX.com.
Photos, from top: Weezer performs at the Dunes Inn Hotel. Jorge Garcia joins the band for a song. Singer Rivers Cuomo, ever the prankster, toys with a roll of toilet paper. Cuomo surveys his audience from the top of the bar. The crowd shows their enthusiasm. Credit: David Greenwald / Brand X