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Weezer bring Africa, The Pixies, and Sleigh Bells to Charlotte

Weezer bring Africa, The Pixies, and Sleigh Bells to Charlotte (PNC Music Pavilion)

Photos by: Ricky Thigpen

Every generation there are a select few bands who ignite an obsession with music among the youth, creating other artists who will ignite the same passion within the next generation. But how often do these bands, veteran legends and soon-to-be’s, go on a nationwide tour with their inspirations? Case and point: The Pixies and Weezer.

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These two alt-gods are currently storming stages around North America, taking a victory lap for all the artists who started a band in their honor. This monumental tour was brought to Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion last night, July 25th, with Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells, all promoting new(ish) material of sorts.

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American noise-pop (a.k.a. synth galore) duo Sleigh Bells (Mom + Pop Music) are out and about promoting their 2017 release Kid Kruschev. Even if you’re not a music aficionado, there’s a huge chance you’ve accidentally (though delightfully) come across their music before. Sleigh Bells’ singles have found a home on many a media, including a trailer for Kick Ass 2, an iPhone 5C commercial, Guitar Hero Live, New Girl, and 13 Reasons Why… just to name a few.

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Opening up with the eclectic “Blue Trash Mattress Fire”, Sleigh Bells did a damn good job rewarding those who came to the show early. “Riot Rhythm” followed up quickly, with “Rainmaker” and, the song with a brand new music video, “Favorite Transgressions” trailing shortly. It can be difficult to understand why some tours have certain openers, but it was clear that Sleigh Bells were a more than perfect option for this slot.

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The Pixies have some pop tunes and Weezer is definitely no stranger to an 808-synth combo, so an opener like Sleigh Bells felt like the obvious choice. Closing out the night with “Crown On The Ground”, Sleigh Bells did their job, and then some. In the best way.

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Now I know I tried to sell you on having inconspicuously heard Sleigh Bells here and there, but I would be willing to bet that you’ve come across The Pixies (PIAS America Records) on more than one occasion, simply because “Where Is My Mind?” might be the biggest alt-emo-whatever genre song to make its way across all musical avenues. Remember Fight Club? Yeah, it’s that song. Boston has the bragging rights of being home to one of alternative’s biggest, most influential bands of the 90’s, cultivating a whole new avenue of making music without rigid boundaries. This proves to remain true in 2018 as the band still randomizes their setlists and shamelessly shows off their chops.

Being one of the most influential bands to come from the mid-80s, The Pixies are no stranger to inspiring legendary bands. Nirvana, Radiohead, Blur, and even Weezer all pay homage to The Pixies on a few fronts, and are now paying it forward in this generation.

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The Pixies are a straight-forward, no frills, cut and dry live band – that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They are here to show off their shit, remind you why they still rule, and get the hell out of town, with some dramatic lighting and subtle theatrics here and there of romance of the rose threaded through Paz Lenchantin’s bass.

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The band is currently doing a final run around in support of 2016’s Head Carrier, and (hopefully!) gearing up for another album cycle in the near future.

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Opening up with “Ed Is Dead”, followed shortly by “Nimrod’s Son” and “Mr. Grieves”, The Pixies had no time for niceties (remember: no frills). The band decided upon a mix of new and old, somehow getting it right and keeping the crowd, both die hards and Weezer-only fans, at bay. Crowd favorite “Where Is My Mind?” found a place in the setlist about halfway through, along with the iconic pop track “Here Comes Your Man”. ‘

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One of the highlights of their set was their Pixie-esque cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Head On”, adding the perfect amount of punk to an already alt-ish song.

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“Gigantic” made its way to the venue a little later, subtly reminding everyone of the time Apple hired Phoebe Bridgers, along with a bunch of tech savvy teens, to cover it a few years back. Still waiting for that full cover, Phoebe…


Closing out the night with the infamously amazing and kinda weird “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, The Pixies made it hard to remember that Weezer was the final headliner. The band played to a roaring crowd and flashing lights, soaking us all in reverb and chaotic drums before coming together as a band, clasping hands, and taking a bow – something many a band have stopped doing.

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Consistently labeled as grungy nerdcore, Weezer (Crush Music/Atlantic Records) are nothing if not adventurous in their musical endeavors. The band is currently out supporting their 2017 release Pacific Daydream in addition to their recent EP “The Black Album”.

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Weezer has somehow mastered a clean but complex sound in their recent releases, borrowing tones from rap, 80s rock, reggae, and some 808 pop tracks.

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Opening strong with the infamous “Buddy Holly”, a confetti party was all the rage before the song was even over. It seemed as if all the crowd favorites that are normally saved for the end of a set were checked off the list early, transitioning from “Buddy Holly” to “Beverly Hills”, “Pork And Beans”, and “The Sweater Song” back to back. A swift costume change flashed before the audience as front Rivers Cuomo is stripped of his on-brand cardigan + tie combo, revealing a more casual get up for the night.

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Some B-side material came to life next the band threw together a mashup of covers, including The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and Green Day’s “Longview”. As guitarist Brian Bell stole the spotlight with his vocals during “Keep Fishin’”, Cuomo snuck his way to the B Stage, where he serenaded the lawn with “Island In The Sun” and a gloriously Weezer-esque cover of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”.

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The comical spectacle wasn’t over yet as the band played “Burdnt Jamb” from 2002’s Maladroit with a grungy twist; the song was performed with lyrics from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. To ease the silliness of the last half of the show, the band sweetened up the night with “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”, which prompted the audience to break out the make-out sessions and dance parties. A quick switch to this season’s breakout hit “Feels Like Summer” changed up the tone again, before the final encore of the night, a moment the entire city had been waiting for.

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Remember when Weezer was berated for, oh, YEARS about covering Toto’s strangely re-famous song “Africa”?

Well they gave in, dropped the cover, and we are HERE FOR IT. Though it sounds exactly like you think it would sound, it was exciting and outrageous to for the band to close their 90 minute set with such an endearing song.

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With a swift nod to the crowd and some tiny hand waves, Weezer waltzed off the stage in a sheen of sweat, completely unaware of how affected they left the Queen City.

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You’ve still got some (but just a little) time to catch this tour as it rounds out the Southeast before heading out West. It doesn’t matter where you sit at the venue either, thanks to the B Stage set up! Obviously you can’t go wrong, and have no excuse NOT to attend the show. Grab your tickets here!

See full gallery of the night!

Remaining Tour Dates:

7/27/18—Atlanta, GA @ Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood

7/28/18—Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater

7/29/18—Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP

7/31/18—Greenwood Village, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre

8/1/18—West Valley City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre

8/4/18—Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre

8/7/18—Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre

8/11/18—Chula Vista, CA @ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre

8/12/18—Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion

https://weezer.com
http://www.pixiesmusic.com
http://tornclean.com (Sleigh Bells)

Sheila Walsh graduated from USC Aiken in 2015 with a degree in English. While in school, she won an essay competition for an argumentative essay on why the arts are crucial to the education system. Additionally, she was recruited to play volleyball for USCA and contributed to a weekly journal discussing the life of a student-athlete. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC.

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