photos by Nick Karp

Loving Weezer is complicated. The band played an intimate Brooklyn show at Warsaw earlier tonight (3/30), two days ahead of their upcoming "White Album," and the 1,000-capacity venue was (not surprisingly) more packed than I'd ever seen it, probably oversold, with the line wrapped around the block even as Weezer started their set. Just seeing Weezer in a place this small should be exciting. As far as '90s alt-rock survivors go, Weezer don't dive into bombast, and they aren't washed up or boring either. They're still super tight, Rivers still looks like Buddy Holly, and they're always having a blast on stage. On a surface level, they've held up incredibly, but then they'll make you sit through some embarrassingly bad shit like "Pork and Beans" or "Thank God For Girls." Then, just as you're wondering why you even bother seeing a Weezer show in 2016, they'll whip out something like "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly" and all of a sudden you're seeing some of the best rock music around.

We got a nice batch of those old songs on Wednesday night too. "My Name Is Jonas," "El Scorcho," "Say It Ain't So," "The Good Life," "Undone (The Sweater Song)," and "Buddy Holly" were all played, and they were delivered with enough spirit to almost make you forget you also had to hear "Beverly Hills." Green Album singles "Hash Pipe" and "Island In The Sun" are always fun too. Other than that, the set varied between those groaners and a few new ones that sound kinda like old Weezer (like "Do You Wanna Get High?") but that just don't stick.

The truth is a song like "Do You Wanna Get High?" would probably go over just fine if it was by some new band (just look at Rozwell Kid or Tony Molina or any of the many other bands who pick up buzz for Weezer knockoffs), but it's a little depressing coming from the guys who actually thought up Blue Album and Pinkerton. I'm only hard on the band because those first two albums and their b-sides are some of my favorite rock songs ever written, and it's tough to accept that they'll probably never capture that magic again. They're like Eminem, or Metallica, artists who kicked off their careers with such serious all-time classics that you never fully stop caring about what they do no matter how hopeless another good record is. Still, also like those artists, few acts parallel them when they're in the moment on stage.

Check out the setlist and a few more pictures from the Warsaw show below. A full photo set is coming soon. Weezer play an even more intimate (but acoustic) show at 6 PM at Rough Trade NYC on Friday (4/1), and then they begin their massive tour with Panic! at the Disco and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. That tour brings them back to the NYC-area for larger shows at Jones Beach on 6/30 and PNC Bank Arts Center on 7/2 (tickets).

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