When: Thu., June 5, 9 p.m. 2014
What's the difference between Weezer and a Weezer cover band? Tonight in Durham, they'll play a mere block apart, with Rivers Cuomo's dweeb rockers at DPAC and local tribute act Weezy Rider at The Pinhook. Weezer will likely bring a massive winged "W" and high-dollar stage show, but, aside from the budget, what is the difference? Is the $100 version of "Buddy Holly" actually worth it, or will the $5 one suffice?
Start with the material: Weezy Rider only covers 1994's so-called Blue Album and 1996's Pinkerton, the two Weezer LPs canonized as "good." Weezer's early years do deserve tribute: Singles "Buddy Holly" and "Undone—The Sweater Song" originally aired alongside Stone Temple Pilots dude-jams and self-indulgent Alice in Chains quasi-metal. Weezer made heavily distorted guitar-rock, too, but the aesthetic and fashion were refreshing. Cuomo wore bookworm glasses and Ivy League sweaters and sang about Dungeons & Dragons. Drummer Patrick Wilson drank from a juice box. This contrasted beautifully with the era's self-serious hard rock. It's that ideal that Weezy Rider celebrates.
Weezer's show likely won't be a retrospective, as Cuomo and friends never quit making new music. The DPAC set may include classic cuts, but they'll be interspersed with songs from eight studio albums (and, possibly, an upcoming ninth). As of 2010's Hurley, the guitars stay fuzzy, thick and occasionally heroic, while Cuomo's neuroses still power the hooks. Despite a decade of occasional misses and unflattering collaborations, Weezer is still ... Weezer-esque.
So what's the difference? The choice seems to be between a pop-rock band that has never taken itself too seriously and a doubly unserious tribute. While Weezer's price range is damn steep, Weezy Rider, at least, offers greater focus and intimacy at a lower price. Proceeds even go to help the Durham Crisis Response Center support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. It's a cause that even the members of the real Weezer might support. Hell, they'll be nearby, with an ostensible stack of cash in reach .... Weezer: 7:30 p.m., $59.50–$99.50, dpacnc.com. —Corbie Hill