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Weezer’s first gig here drew fans who wanted to relive childhood

SINGAPORE — From its inception in the early 1990s, American rock band Weezer has always represented the nerd demographic within pop culture. Its debut hit Buddy Holly actually visualised the band playing in the 1950s period TV sitcom Happy Days, and its uncanny ability to meld bubblegum pop tunes and hard rock riffs endeared the band to alternative rockers and metalheads alike.

SINGAPORE — From its inception in the early 1990s, American rock band Weezer has always represented the nerd demographic within pop culture. Its debut hit Buddy Holly actually visualised the band playing in the 1950s period TV sitcom Happy Days, and its uncanny ability to meld bubblegum pop tunes and hard rock riffs endeared the band to alternative rockers and metalheads alike.

Two decades is an eternity in pop music, and while the eponymous White Album (the band’s tenth) demonstrated that their creative powers have not waned at all, it might be argued that commercially, Weezer has been relegated to the dreaded ‘oldies band’ status.

This proposition was clearly evident in Weezer’s first ever concert in Singapore at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Aug 15. The 3,000 strong crowd were composed primarily of fans who were teens when Weezer first emerged in the mid-1990s, and were quite obviously there to relive their childhoods by singing along to classic Weezer hits such as My Name is Jonas, Perfect Situation, Undone — The Sweater Song, Island in the Sun, Say It Ain’t So and of course, Buddy Holly.

Expectedly, there was less enthusiasm when Weezer played newer material such as California Kids and King of the World (from The White Album), (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To (from 2009’s Raditude), and even the rather ill-advised new song Jacked Up, which was met with palpable indifference.

Perhaps the most incriminating evidence of all was the incongruous medley of Dope Nose/Back to the Shack/Keep Fishin’/The Good Life/Surf Wax America, which seemed like the ultimate nod to nostalgia Weezer has ever made. For the diehard fan, this was a bitter pill to swallow as most would rather have had the band play these songs in their entirety and perhaps forgo that new song, and maybe even that mystifying cover of Fun’s We Are Young, at the beginning of the encore.

But putting all these quibbles aside, it was difficult to ignore that Weezer in 2016 is now an anachronism. A rock ’n’ roll band playing guitars, with lead guitar solos, proper song bridges (like The Beatles!) and concise songs that were punchy, invigorating and irresistibly fun.

Fact is, those of us who hold these values dear to our hearts will appreciate the aural blessings that a band like Weezer continues to provide, in a time where pop music is made and sold by machines. There was heart and soul in every screaming lick, every lusty singalong and every emotional outpouring of the angsty insecurities of modern life and relationships.

Perhaps there is still hope for rock ’n’ roll, when Weezer is still out there fighting the good fight.

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