July 23, 2018 Weezer & Pixies Feels Like Summer at Jones Beach, NY 7-18-18 w/ Sleigh Bells
What can be better than jumping in your car, rolling the windows down, and taking a nice drive out to the beach on a picture perfect summer evening? Very little, that’s for sure! Pair this scenario with an amazing concert at one of New York’s best outdoor music venues and you have yourself a cheerful night of pure heaven. Certainly this was the vision multi-platinum selling Alternative Rock caravan Weezer had in mind way back in ice-cold December 2017 upon announcing a mega-summer tour package co-headlining with fellow Alternative Rock stars Pixies.
One of the hottest tours of the season, Weezer and Pixies hit the road in late June, opening in sunny Tampa, Florida, followed by shows in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dallas, Texas, and Toronto, Ontario. Returning to the area, via a stop in Long Island, New York, Weezer and Pixies came out to play The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Amphitheater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
One of the most beloved acts of the 1990s, Weezer came from out of nowhere, armed with a clean-cut image and a knack for writing catchy, emotionally-charged Alternative-Pop Rock tunes. Everyone who grew up in the 90’s remembers watching MTV after school, seeing Weezer’s video for “Buddy Holly,” and loving the fresh image and sound of Weezer, completely offbeat from every other band of that time. Being into Rock or anything close was not required, fans from all walks of life could get into Weezer. Simply put, thanks to the band’s 1994 debut LP, Weezer, aka The Blue Album, Weezer damn near stole the decade from the dark Grunge bands of the time, offering a sound that just made people happy.
That said, the most joyful Weezer fans gathered outside the Jones Beach Theater for some parking lot barbecue, Cornhole, and a number of chill pre-show activities to loosen up for the show. Inside the venue, as a lively crowd gathered in the pit area, Brooklyn, New York-based act Sleigh Bells took the stage to kick-off the night. Sleigh Bells debuted in 2008 and features energetic Vocalist Alexis Krauss and Guitarist Derek Edward Miller. With five albums under their belt, Sleigh Bells released their debut album, Treats, in 2010, and most recently offered the 2017 LP, Kid Kruschev. Music fans who love good television may have heard a great deal of Sleigh Bells’ music featured on TV shows ranging from Gossip Girl to the Netflix series Jessica Jones.
A lively start to the night, Sleigh Bells arrived with a sound defined as Noise Pop; or a blend of potent Pop hooks, heavy beats, loud guitar riffs, Electronica, and enchanting psychedelic vocals. Short and sweet, Sleigh Bells had the growing crowd jumping up and down with excitement during songs like “Blue Trash Mattress Fire,” “Riot Rhythm,” and closing number, “Crown On The Ground.” Up-and-coming, Sleigh Bells is worth showing up early to check out.
Taking the stage next, Pixies are renowned as one of the top underground Alternative Rock acts of the 1990s. A bit of history, Pixies classic lineup consisted of Black Francis (vocals/rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass), and David Lovering (drums). Forming out of Boston, MA, in 1986, Pixies comprised a sound made up of emotional vocals and melodies which shift from subtle and quiet to loud and jarring. From 1988 to 1990, Pixies released four albums, from 1988’s Surfer Rosa to 1991’s Trompe le Monde, while their most well-known track is “Here Comes Your Man” off 1989’s Doolittle.
In a short time, Pixies managed to influence artists who would go on to become the biggest acts of the next decade such as Nirvana, Radiohead, and even Weezer. By 1993, internal issues caused Pixies to disband and each member went their separate ways. Most notably, Kim Deal founded the all-girl Alternative Rock band The Breeders in 1989, returning to her role in the band as vocalist/guitarist. Deal topped the charts with The Breeders, scoring the smash hit single “Cannonball.” A new day, in 2004, Pixies successfully reunited, but in 2013 Deal departed from the band on good terms. Today, Bassist Paz Lenchantin is a full-time member of Pixies, rounding out the group. Overall, with three quarters of the classic lineup in place, Pixies are still going strong having released their latest album in 2016, entitled Head Carrier.
Met with a warm ovation of cheers, Pixies took center-stage under the lights and, welcoming sunset upon the theater, they opened the set with “Gouge Away,” followed by the likes of “U-Mass” and “Bone Machine.” Yet, there was so much more to come in their balanced offering of classic and newer tunes. In fact, a smooth set of songs, the catalog selections either relaxed or shook audience members.
Over the course of an hour, Pixies pleased most of the crowd by means of numbers like “Monkey Goes to Heaven,” The Jesus and Mary Chain cover “Head On,” “Gigantic,” “Where Is My Mind?,” all the way through closing number “Vamos.” Sounding as tight as ever and uniquely their own as ever, it was a fantastic showcase for Pixies, and perhaps even turned on a whole new group of fans in the process. In a final bow, Pixies soaked up the cheers from fans as the band waved goodnight until next time.
At full capacity, fans of all ages packed the theater, primed and ready for a night of nothing but the best sing-along songs Weezer has to offer. Around 9:45pm, the moment we all wait for at a show took place as the lights went out, sparking an enormous ovation from a cheery Jones Beach crowd. Then, a familiar voice came over the P.A., announcing “Happy Days is filmed before a live audience,” followed by, “Okay, kids, Arnold’s is proud to present, Kenosha, Wisconsin’s own, Weezer!” Cueing the curtain to drop, Weezer – Rivers Cuomo (vocals/lead guitar), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (rhythm guitar), and Scott Shriner (bass) – took off with “Buddy Holly,” and, as Rivers Cuomo sported his school-boy sweater, the Long Island crowd grew nostalgic over the “Arnold’s Diner” stage set, complete with jukebox and high school sports banners. After a blissful ovation, Weezer made a pit stop in “Beverly Hills” before serving up the “Pork and Beans.”
Taking it back to 1994, Weezer delighted all with “Undone-The Sweater Song,” rocked “Hash Pipe” to the max, and touched Long Island’s soul via “Perfect Situation.” As the show progressed, the diner was one of several awesome back-drops to one of the coolest bands on the planet. Having said this, the stage area converted into a garage, perfect for the captivating “My Name Is Jonas,” “El Scorcho,” and, introduced by Cuomo’s inquiry “Where are we?”, “In The Garage.”
At this point, everyone was having a blast and things were about to get better as Cuomo announced that the band were going to take us back to the 1960s. Beginning a trend of Easter eggs, Weezer performed a fun cover of The Turtles’ hit “Happy Together,” playing a sweet portion of Green Day’s “Longview” in between. Then, as Bell sang vocals on “Keep Fishin’ ,” Cuomo could be spotted by the drum-kit putting on a boat captain’s hat and jacket. What for? Well, Cuomo made his way to the side of the stage where he was escorted to the back of the floor and climbed onto a boat/mini-stage. Next, he proceeds to sail to the middle of the area directly in between the orchestra and stadium seats. Accepting an acoustic guitar, the charming front-man directed the crowd to use cellphone flashlights to light up the house, before two of the absolute best moments of the night took place. With the crowd on backing vocals, Cuomo played an amazing acoustic version of “Island in the Sun,” followed by an enchanting cover of a-ha’s 1985 hit “Take On Me,” leaving the crowd in awe.
Returning on stage to an Arena Rock set-up, Weezer kicked into a “Burndt Jamb” prior to another entertaining segment. Feeling spontaneous, Cuomo says to his band-mates, “Let’s switch it up, this looks like a Pinkerton crowd.” Referring to Weezer’s 1996 sophomore album, the crowd ate it up. Now, rumor has it next on the setlist was, off the debut album, “No One Else,” but Cuomo chose “Pink Triangle” instead, a fine choice.
Moving along, off Weezer’s latest release, 2017’s Pacific Daydream, “Feels Like Summer” brought in the ocean breeze before Weezer’s newest cover of Toto’s Yacht Rock sensation “Africa.” As pyrotechnics started to surface, Weezer triumphantly brought a glowing crowd back to “The Good Life.” As all good things must come to an end, Weezer awarded Jones Beach with one more tune, the super-engaging “Say It Ain’t So,” and a sliver of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” to cap off the fun.
After a great night of music under the moonlight, not a single Long Islander left Jones Beach without a smile on their face. After nearly 25 years, Weezer is as amusing and youthful as ever. Performing hit after hit, Weezer gave it all on stage and did not disappoint the devoted fan-base. Along with Pixies, Weezer will be touring through mid-August when the tour wraps up in Phoenix, Arizona. So what are you waiting for? Don’t be left out, catch this special tour live, and have the time of your life!