AgriCom, Edmonton - Apr. 23, 2002

MIKE ROSS -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 4:30 PM ET

EDMONTON -- A girl at the Weezer concert warned us this was a "punk rock show."

It was like no other punk rock show I've ever seen. None of the usual trappings of the genre were visible, no swearing, no spitting, no NoFx T-shirts, and but a single mohawk spotted amongst the 3,200 kids who packed the AgriCom last night. No, this was not your daddy's punk. These unlikely superstars from Los Angeles delivered a straight-ahead rock show of the highest order - a glorious display of pop-rock perfection loaded with jangly goodness and hit after hit after hit. Has "America's Sloan" been taken yet? Rather an improvement on Sloan, Weezer knows what they're doing when it comes to the art of writing clever, catchy, smart songs and then blasting them into rock 'n' roll nirvana, so to speak.

This was the best rock-pop-punk-whatever show of the year so far.

Many in attendance agreed. Sitting behind me were Those Three Guys, the fans you see at every rock concert - hollering themselves hoarse, the first to stand, the first to spill their beers. You know the ones. They'd waited seven years for the Coming of Weezer and it didn't sound like they were disappointed. Down on the floor, meanwhile, the mosh pit raged as the crowd sang along to lyrics that make no sense at all until you start to think about them. Weezer's big hit Hash Pipe goes like this: "You've got your problem, I've got my ass wide, you've got your big G's, I've got my hash pipe." The song seems to be on the subject of a gay male prostitute. OK, Those Three Guys, sing it loud and sing it proud.

Other songs came across like Dr. Seuss rhymes for party animals. Fun for the whole family! With the words, "We're here to smack your butt, so assume the position!" - that's a new one - the band opened with Dope Nose, from the forthcoming album, Maladroit - which was followed by what appeared to be a thrown pair of men's underwear. Hmm ...

Never seen that at a punk show. But who cares about stinkin' labels? Weezer's even been called "geek rock" mainly because singer Rivers Cuomo looks like a nerd. He may in fact be responsible for making big black horn-rimmed glasses cool again. Thanks a lot, Rivers. Basically, though, Weezer is so anti-image and anti-punk that they're more "punk" than ever. Perhaps you need to take the literal meaning of "hash pipe" to understand that one.

Weezer at least has great taste in opening bands. Pete Yorn's set was likewise a display of expert popcraft backed by a solid rock band. While his voice strayed into the Eddie Vedder hollow drone territory, his songs were excellent and performed with passion. He'll be a headliner in no time.

The evening of mind expansion began with the aptly named AM Radio, whose happy, shiny brand of rock makes Weezer look like Slipknot. Bonus points for the sparkly dust and working Like a Virgin into the set. Good band, just too happy by half.

Note Perfect: Dope Nose, Hash Pipe, sensing a theme here?

Sour Note: Lack of explosions

JAM! Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (More on Weezer)

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