Of Ecclesiastes And Weezer

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Of Ecclesiastes And Weezer

A fun­da­men­tal of Scrip­ture is there’s some­thing some­where in it guar­an­teed to make any­one and every­one squirm uncom­fort­ably. A prime exam­ple of this is Eccle­si­astes, a book soundly ignored by feel good faith fans for its dour, bleak overview of life as some­thing of a cruel cos­mic joke in which very lit­tle, save find­ing con­tent­ment in what­ever you may have and what you do, is of any meaning.

Which nat­u­rally leads to Weezer.

The other night, the mys­te­ri­ous yet not myth­i­cal Mrs. Dude and I attended a Weezer con­cert in Oak­land. For the unini­ti­ated, Weezer has for some twenty-​five years pro­duced a run of solid, oft­times snarling power pop hits while pre­sent­ing itself as the four-​headed king of nerdville, simul­ta­ne­ously lam­poon­ing macho rock excesses and yearn­ing for accep­tance among the afore­men­tioned macho rock crowd. Weezer con­certs are replete with pyrotech­nics, elab­o­rate stage sets, and a fair amount of tongue planted firmly in cheek, much of which was appar­ently lost on the crowd I saw them with who took mat­ters far more seri­ously than the band. Not that Weezer lacks in pro­fes­sion­al­ism; the band was tight and focused through­out the evening, and band leader Rivers Cuomo plays a superb gui­tar although even there a sub­tle hint is dropped he knows this isn’t a testos­terone fes­ti­val: instead of a ubiq­ui­tous Gib­son Les Paul he uses the decid­edly less esteemed and fash­ion­able Gib­son SG.

Weezer, in addi­tion to pok­ing a fair amount of fun at hard rock’s excesses, doesn’t fol­low the rules that usu­ally gov­ern such things when it comes to con­cert setlists. The accepted norm is to play as many songs as pos­si­ble from your lat­est record; Weezer played exactly one. Instead, it mixed older hits, mostly ignor­ing most of its cat­a­log from the past decade, with tracks from its sur­prise album of cov­ers from ear­lier named the Teal Album which pre­ceded by a few weeks its actual lat­est album enti­tled the Black Album. Another accepted norm is to avoid play­ing any­thing unfa­mil­iar, so nat­u­rally dur­ing its set the band trot­ted out a cover of “Up The Beach” by Jane’s Addic­tion that it has never recorded. Never a dull moment with these guys.

One song the band per­formed twice, first as a show opener done a cap­pella in bar­ber­shop quar­tet style with cos­tumes to match, and later on in its nor­mal state, was “Bev­erly Hills.” In same, Cuomo por­trays him­self as long­ing for celebrity sta­tus while acknowl­edg­ing he has no shot at same:

https://​youtu​.be/​H​L​_​W​v​O​ly7mY

Which nat­u­rally leads back to Ecclesiastes.

And learn­ing how to be con­tent with what you have.

Which, regard­less of whether it comes from King Solomon or Rivers Cuomo, is good advice.

A fundamental of Scripture is there’s something somewhere in it guaranteed to make anyone and everyone squirm uncomfortably. A prime example of this is Ecclesiastes, a book soundly ignored by feel good faith fans for its dour, bleak overview of life as something of a cruel cosmic joke in which very little, save finding contentment in whatever you may have and what you do, is of any meaning.

Which naturally leads to Weezer. 

The other night, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I attended a Weezer concert in Oakland. For the uninitiated, Weezer has for some twenty-five years produced a run of solid, ofttimes snarling power pop hits while presenting itself as the four-headed king of nerdville, simultaneously lampooning macho rock excesses and yearning for acceptance among the aforementioned macho rock crowd. Weezer concerts are replete with pyrotechnics, elaborate stage sets, and a fair amount of tongue planted firmly in cheek, much of which was apparently lost on the crowd I saw them with who took matters far more seriously than the band. Not that Weezer lacks in professionalism; the band was tight and focused throughout the evening, and band leader Rivers Cuomo plays a superb guitar although even there a subtle hint is dropped he knows this isn’t a testosterone festival: instead of a ubiquitous Gibson Les Paul he uses the decidedly less esteemed and fashionable Gibson SG.

Weezer, in addition to poking a fair amount of fun at hard rock’s excesses, doesn’t follow the rules that usually govern such things when it comes to concert setlists. The accepted norm is to play as many songs as possible from your latest record; Weezer played exactly one. Instead, it mixed older hits, mostly ignoring most of its catalog from the past decade, with tracks from its surprise album of covers from earlier named the Teal Album which preceded by a few weeks its actual latest album entitled the Black Album. Another accepted norm is to avoid playing anything unfamiliar, so naturally during its set the band trotted out a cover of “Up The Beach” by Jane’s Addiction that it has never recorded. Never a dull moment with these guys.

One song the band performed twice, first as a show opener done a cappella in barbershop quartet style with costumes to match, and later on in its normal state, was “Beverly Hills.” In same, Cuomo portrays himself as longing for celebrity status while acknowledging he has no shot at same:

Which naturally leads back to Ecclesiastes.

And learning how to be content with what you have.

Which, regardless of whether it comes from King Solomon or Rivers Cuomo, is good advice.