Summer is in full swing & with lots of fun nostalgia for Summers past - Alot of the bands that were huge in the 1990's are still bringing it hard & quite a few with new LPs & tours that make them just as relevant today & not an oldies act at all.
The Pixies & Weezer - June 27th - Dos Equis Pavilion - Dallas, TX
To go to an outdoor show in Texas in the Summer is a rite of passage but with that comes serious commitment. You agree to shake hands with the devil, dress as loosely as possible and take on the heat to see your favorite act in person. This was the case for those of us wanting to have a lit Summer & checking out the Pixies & Weezer at the newly names Dos Equis Pavilion (or whatever their calling Starplex these days).
Stragglers cheered as Pixies frontman Frank Black entered the stage followed by bandmates Paz Lenchantin, Joey Santiago and David Lovering. The Pixies started their roughly 70-minute set to seated but enthusiastic fans like us. While I can say that I've become "accustomed" to seeing the Pixies indoors & smaller, more intimate venues, that in itself is a strange statement as it's still insane to be able to say we are seeing the Pixies at all.
I come from that unfortunate generation that was too young to see their original go around when they playing small age restricted clubs who waited 12 excruciating years waiting for the impossible to happen & when the reunion did actually take place in 2004 you bet your ass I was at Coachella up front.
I mention that show & a few other times I've seen them since outdoors, ACL that year, Voodoo in New Orleans the next etc but those shows didn't feel unengaged, they felt like you were still witnessing history. Now that it's 2018 & Kim Deal is gone (& for some it's no Kim = no Deal) & they are essentially opening for Weezer & a modest slot it's difficult to know exactly how to react. This says nothing about the band's ability to deliver as I just saw them headline a small theatre last year & it was one of the best shows I've ever seen.
The Pixies performed on a stripped-down stage with no pyrotechnics or screen with flashing images which was perfect & in stark contrast to what was to come later in the evening. When Here Comes Your Man started its first few notes, standing had become a requirement if you wanted to see the show. Approaching darkness as the heat started to drop, crowd & band continued to loosen up to an explosive room screaming lyrics right back at them.
Ed Is Dead
Where Is My Mind?
Winterlong (Neil Young cover)
The Holiday Song
Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
All the Saints
Here Comes Your Man
Monkey Gone to Heaven
All I Think About Now
As the amphitheater darkened once again and the crowd roared its approval, the curtain dropped to reveal Weezer on a set re-creating Arnold’s diner from the music video for Buddy Holly. Rivers Cuomo was front and center, adorned in a sweater and tie, with bandmates Scott Shriner, Pat Wilson and Brian Bell immediately jumping into their original breakout hit.
The crowd sang along word for word, not only to this song but every song, during the 75-minute set as Weezer played most of its much-revered Blue Album, skipping only three songs. It played with the same earnestness and heart that made the Blue Album the anthem for everyone who felt like the underdog as a teenager.
Weezer's show was the exact opposite of the Pixies;, with streamers shooting into the crowd and three set changes that took them from the set of "Buddy Holly" to a mock-up of a suburban garage to an '80s-inspired set, hanging cold metal designs ablaze in pyrotechnic glory that would look at home at a Van Halen concert. Cuomo changed into four outfits while performing. It was usually a simple jacket change, but the effort was there to create an experience for the fans.
Demonstrating the timeless appeal of Weezer and its poppy, candy-coated heartache brand of music. To put in perspective, someone who was 10 when Weezer’s first album released in May 1994 is 34 now, so people who were babies when the "Sweater Song" slipped onto the radio still found its message relatable.
Cuomo, in his awkward way (is it real or the greatest character ever played?), proved to be a more than capable showman — at one point jumping on a scooter and riding into the fans. He jumped on a stage where the seats met the lawn and played an acoustic version of Islands in the Sun for the screaming cheap seats.
As the night came to a close with the final song, Say It Ain’t So, the crowd was still in full attendance, no one taking part in the beat-the-traffic shuffle. Work or no work the next day, there was a shared feeling that leaving early might make you miss something, which is a rare feat to accomplish now. When the last words were sang and Cuomo made his hands into a ‘W’ to the audience, the packed amphitheater did the same.
Undone — The Sweater Song
Franks and Beans
A Perfect Situation
My Name is Jonas
In My Garage
No One Else
Happy Together (The Turtles cover) (with a snippet of "Longview" by Green Day)
Keep Fishin' (Brian on vocals)
Island in the Sun (Rivers solo acoustic)
Wonderwall (Oasis cover) (Rivers solo acoustic)
The Good Life
Feels Like Summer
Africa (Toto cover)
Tired of Sex
Say It Ain't So
Helmet - July 4th - Gas Monkey Bar & Grill - Dallas, TX
Getting spoiled with Helmet shows in the Dallas area this year as this marks their second time this year & seemingly a handful in just the past 12 months (mostly at this very venue). the NYC legends returned once more for a special afternoon show in order not to compete with the evening's festivities celebrating our nation's independence.
This show was so loose & fun & the early start time & it being a holiday made it feel more like a private show than a tour stop (in fact I think it very well could have been, like the owner just wanted them here, or they were looking for a pickup date cause this show wasn't announced to soon before the actual event). Running through tons of their classic material as well as songs from their most recent LP 2016's Dead to the World.
At one point after the main set, it just became fan's choice (& I'm gonna take a bit of credit for them treating us to Sinatra haha)
Good times & the perfect way to spend a Summer Holiday afternoon.
Like I Care
Life or Death
Drunk in the Afternoon
I ♥ My Guru
In the Meantime
Quicksand - July 25th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
Let's get one thing straight: The first 2 Quicksand LPs released between 1993 & 1995 had as big of impact on me as just about anything else. Couldn't overstate the influence, joy & longstanding memories this beloved band of mine has brought me for most of my adult life.
Having them back in my life after 22 years is a gift & last year's Interiors topped our year end list. I didn't get to see their show last year, their first time back in Dallas in almost 20 years but was dissapointed to hear that guitarist Tom Capone wasn't participating & sadly for the reasons why.
Was excited to hear they were returning, even as a three piece, but let me say this: It didn't work & this show was very weird for me.
Here's why: I don't know if it's a case of You Can Never Go Home Again (see Chainsaw Kittens) or that they were dressed more likely to attend a volleyball game (though I can't blame them, it is Texas in July) or that they were going on so early etc - But this show felt almost like a cover band.
Once I got past the sheer excitement that these guys were in front of me again (as Quicksand) it felt more like a rehearsal to the show - I kept waiting (subconsciously) for Capone to come out to fill out the sound & add his imitable solos & riffs. Bassist Serge & main man Walter did their best to pick up the slack & for all intents & purposes it is Walter's band but it's sheer arrogance to think they continue this way.
Also, I've changed alot in 22 years - I had no idea how much they sounded like Fugazi in 1993 cause I was new to that band too then. It never occured to me how much Walter sounds like Ian Mackaye when he sings & seemingly purposefully so.
Don't get me wrong, I love these guys & want them to succeed & love the new record & it wasn't all bad. I found myself tearing up during Freezing Process & it brought a strong wind of nostalgia but largely this show was embarassing & unnecessary & I hope that will change & soon cause I can't get these songs out of my head again.
Head To Wall
Warm and Low
Under the Screw
Lie And Wait
Thorn in My Side