Weezer + Regurgitator – Brisbane Entertainment Centre [Live Review]

Review: Nev Pearce and Christian Stanger
Photography: JD Garrahy

29 years ago when grunge was at its peak a little band called Weezer from California released a record that would signal a new era for rock.
Blue album represented an alternative to the serious, sad-sack, musical climate of the early 90’s, a time when being nerdy was far from cool and any expression of being so inclined could get the shit kicked out of you. 

Wearing their influences and hearts on their sleeve, Rivers Cuomo and the gang chose to write fun songs about love, surfing and being uncool which resonated with a new generation coming up through the ranks.
Now I’ve had a love for Weezer since the mid 90’s but I have never had the chance to see them play until now which has me very excited to be able to cross them off the wish list.

Over the years I’ve seen countless shows at Brisbane Entertainment Centre – in fact, it was only last night I was there to see Swedish rock monsters Ghost. Every time I walk up those steps, I get a flood of memories of my first show here with Russian bears riding motorbikes. But my first actual big arena rock show was in 1996, when national treasures Regurgitator opened (and mopped the floor with) the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Like many Aussies I share a deep love for Brisbane’s finest and kookiest alt rockers,. I’ve seen ‘Gurge more times that I can remember but every time has been just as fun and memorable, tonight though getting the chance to get down with them where I first saw them live is a real special experience for me.

Fresh off their support slot with KISS and dressed in nun’s habits, Regurgitator open with I Sucked a Lot Of Cock, followed by I Will Lick Your Asshole, before which co-frontman Quan Yeomans proclaims ‘When I’m done with the cock I go straight to the ass’. It’s all the funnier knowing that some in the audience are either unfamiliar with their filthy humour or unprepared for it.

The set that follows unleashes some of their best work and floor-movers such as Track 1, I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff, Polyester Girl, Black Bugs, The World of Sleaze and Kung Fu Sing, which is played early in the show at the screamed request of an over zealous fan.

Wrapping up their set with the floor stomper ! (The Song Formally Known As), Brisbane’s finest exports justify their reputation as an absolute monster onstage.

As TOTO’s Africa blasts over the PA the lights go out and we are greeted by the sound of a radio scanning through stations. Hints of Weezer tracks are heard before the band finally hit the stage and lean into the finger-picking intro of My Name Is Jonas to a thunderous welcome. It’s a hell of a way to kick things off and they follow it up with Beverly Hills, which gets the arena stomping and clapping.

The band then lead into the Instrumental jam Return to Ithaka which shows off frontman Rivers Cuomo’s guitar chops and that he is an underestimated player, it’s pretty cool to see that his earlier metal influences still manage to shine though in moments like this and something I would hope to see more of.

As the set steams on we are treated to favourites The Good Life, Photograph and Pork and Beans before the roof is blown off with the mega hit, El Scorcho.  This cut from Pinkerton was the gateway for a lot of fans in Australia thanks to its heavy rotation on Triple J and the crowd were not shy about singing the ad-libs and calling out when the band skipped half the final verse.

This was a hook-heavy set with Undone – The Sweater Song sending out nostalgic vibes among the older punters before an unexpected mid set tonal change. The projections beaming from the curtain in the rear goes dark, the rest of the band depart the stage and Rivers is left to play acoustic and tell the story about a girl he met in college who inspired The World Has Turned and Left Me Here as well the creation of Weezer itself.  An incredible acoustic version of Suzanne follows, with Brian Bell and Scott Shriner joining in for 3-part harmonies.

There were super radio-friendly transitions too (perfect for Indie Rock Roadtrip) with gradiosity of The Greatest Man That Ever Lived giving way to the simple guitars of Island In The Sun. The keyboard was rolled out for All My Favourite Songs, and then we were rolling to the close with heavy-hitting alt-rock classic Say It Ain’t So and the driving rhythm and surprisingly crushing guitar tones of Hash Pipe before closing off the set proper with Thank Your and Good Night.

The encore was never in doubt. Coming back for Surf Wax America and the compulsory, timeless, singalong of Buddy Holly signing off the night. On only their second headline tour of Australia, Weezer show why they’ve become an alt-rock institution. Whatever they release next, as long as they come back to Australia and hit us all with a heavy dose of Surf Wax America or Only In Dreams mixed, I’ll be there.

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