Sweet pop melodies and a ditty for Joseph Schooling

Weezer's (from left) Rivers Cuomo, Scott Shriner, Patrick Wilson and Brian Bell performed feel-good and bittersweet anthems at their concert on Monday.
Weezer's (from left) Rivers Cuomo, Scott Shriner, Patrick Wilson and Brian Bell performed feel-good and bittersweet anthems at their concert on Monday.PHOTO: LAMC



Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre


You cannot escape Joseph Schooling fever, not even at American alternative-rock stalwarts Weezer's first concert in Singapore, where their frontman Rivers Cuomo broke into an impromptu ditty about Singapore and the mania surrounding Singapore's first gold-medal win at the Olympics.

The Los Angeles alt-rock heroes sure know how to endear themselves to their fans and host country, referencing not just Schooling, but also another national swimmer: While playing Thank God For Girls, a track from The White Album - the new full-length CD released this year - they briefly slipped in a shot of Asian Games champion Tao Li on the screen behind them, alongside photos of iconic women ranging from the late actress Audrey Hepburn to United States First Lady Michelle Obama.

Apart from those moments - not to mention Cuomo's quirky red sombrero and king's crown and cape - Weezer were anything but gimmicky.

Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, drummer Patrick Wilson and bass player Scott Shriner kept it fuss-free. Stage flamboyance was eschewed in favour of their earnest, everyman charm and solid musicianship - the sweet pop melodies, crunchy guitars and hook-laden choruses that have become Weezer's signatures were on full display at the show.

While they could be musically adventurous when the mood seized them - witness the little between-song jams on keyboards and synthesizers - they focused on feel-good anthems such as Buddy Holly and bittersweet emo anthems, including Say It Ain't So, both from their seminal 1994 debut record, dubbed The Blue Album.

Making the most of a short show - lasting 75 minutes - Weezer performed a setlist that was the equivalent of the 24-year-old band's Best Of compilation, culled from their 10-album discography.

There were other tunes from The White Album, such as gig opener California Kids, but these were kept to a minimum.

The band astutely dipped into their back catalogue, especially the crowd-pleasing singles that have become alt-rock anthems in the past two decades.

Classics such as Undone - The Sweater Song, El Schorcho and Beverly Hills drew the loudest cheers and heartiest sing-alongs from the audience.

While other signature tunes such as King Of The World and Only In Dreams were mashed together in medleys - and not always elegantly - the transition between Dope Nose and Back To The Shack seemed forced - this was a concert for fans who are tired of rock bombast and yearn instead for a band focused on fine tunes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Sweet pop melodies and a ditty for Joseph Schooling'. Print Edition | Subscribe