Article and Photos by Andrés Alvarado
Atlanta played host for two of America’s most iconic musical entities from the last 25 years. Co-headlining a blockbuster summer run, Boston’s legendary Pixies and Los Angeles pop-rock powerhouse Weezer have combined to carry over 40 years of artistic trajectory and 18 albums. In every practical sense, this trek was built around the idea of large crowds gathering to chug a few beers, reminisce of those past decades, dance to some beats, and chorus along to those familiar lyrics. Naturally, for all this to work out fluently, a badass opener would need to be enlisted.
Handling opening duties were New York noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells. Led by kick-ass front-woman Alexis Krauss, this Big Apple twosome were instrumental in hyping the unfolding extravaganza. Lady Krauss is a dynamo with her pedal-to-the-metal approach to showmanship. By contrast, Derek E. Miller might seem idle compared to his partner-in-crime, but man, does his guitar pack a huge punch — and he isn’t afraid to burst some eardrums. While the power-pop pair were only afforded 30 minutes in the spotlight, their performance was well-rounded to highlight their bigger hits and emphasize their animated pageantry skills. A most perfect opening act to what would be a fun-filled evening.
With onlookers immersed in a festive mode, Pixies entered center stage to take over the sound waves. At first glance, the storied quartet are not a stylish bunch. If anything, they appear rather normal; nonetheless, once they delve into their art, they are magical, utterly sublime. Steered by the always interesting Black Francis, the Beantown foursome rifle off hit after hit for the spirited thousands singing along. Far and wide, dance parties form as the gang performs under bright strobes to deliver those signature tunes that inspired millions of fans. Over a 70-minute concert, Mr. Black, David Lovering, Joey Santiago, and Paz Lenchantin gripped the undivided attention of the onsite masses and navigated everyone through a journey of their fabled discography. From opener “U-Mass” to closing anthem “Vamos” and every smash-hit in between, the Pixies showcased one again why many industry colleagues consider them a motivational force of melodic nature. Truly, one act to catch, simply mesmerizing.
The final showing of the day came courtesy of alt-rock nerds, Weezer. A ’50s themed deck — similar to their “Buddy Holly” video setup — glamoured the background, as the La-La Land four came to the foreground. Rivers Cuomo, sporting a prep-boy getup, stands front and middle as the boys dive head-first into their gig. Unlike the Pixies or Sleigh Bells before them, Weezer is heavily aided by visual props that oomph their offerings a tad more. From that giant winged-W logo hovering bright over the boys, to shooting streamers and costume changes, Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Brian Bell, and Cuomo provide a more elaborate display and a bit more bang for your buck. Optics aside, the gang’s sound is flawless and measured, and their antics highly entertaining. A band cannot go 25+ years into a successful career without turning over quality to their faithful — and Weezer is quite the provider. With flashy performances of Weezer bangers like “Pork and Beans,” “Hash Pipe,” and “El Scorcho,” plus Toto‘s “Africa” and A-Ha‘s “Take On Me,” the Cuomo-operated crew put forth the glorious final touches on a fantastic evening of rock.
Overall, the night ran smoothly and joyous. Both Weezer and Pixies are masters of their craft. As fans, the chance to observe these talented legends at work is concert-going at its finest. In the end, Weezer, Pixies, and Sleigh Bells all lived-up to the expectations — and then obliterated them — which sent their base home with ear-to-ear smiles. Cheers!