- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It’s customarily a no-no to play songs by the band you’re warming up for. Rivers Cuomo and his puckish pals in Weezer either forgot the rule Monday night at the Patriot Center — or flouted it.

On hearing that the headlining Foo Fighters would be passing over one of their biggest hits — the infectious “Big Me” — Weezer happily played the song in its own set, along with a cover of Blur’s “Song 2,” adding another layer of parody to the Brit-pop band’s sendup of American grunge.

Weezer properly played Weezer songs, too, including its latest punk-pop gem, the mellow headbanger “Beverly Hills,” and 20th-century faves such as “Say It Ain’t So,” “Buddy Holly” and “Undone (The Sweater Song).” Mr. Cuomo skulked through the dark arena to play a solo acoustic version of “Island in the Sun” from a soundboard pit, lending the tune a distant melancholy that always seems to lurk beneath the Weez’s playful surface.

Whoever came up with the idea of tethering Weezer to Foo Fighters must have felt the same flicker of inspiration that anyone near age 30 probably felt Monday: that these two roughly contemporaneous alt-rock bands have weathered a decade and show no signs of flagging despite an onslaught of new trends (emo and rap-metal and resurgent boy bands, oh, my).

The Foos boast an ever-changing cast that centers on ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, an area native who seemed ecstatic to play before a home audience that included his parents, James and Virginia Grohl, and wife, Jordan.

By now, the Grohl brood must be well familiar with its famous member’s nasty habits, among them loud belches (courtesy of a bowl of chili at the Hard Times Cafe, Mr. Grohl explained) and a truck-driver’s mouth. Then there’s the laundry list of prior offenses that Mr. Grohl shared with 10,000 or so of his friends — such as the time he was pulled over on Route 50 with a suspended license — and other assorted high jinks that bounced him across three local high schools in as many years.

Still, how could they not be proud — or at least in awe — as they watched the pugnacious Mr. Grohl direct a multigenerational audience that hinged on his every growl and gesture?

Mr. Grohl may have held back “Big Me,” but he delivered all the heavy-but-hummable Foo hits, including the crunching Kurt Cobain tribute “My Hero” and “Learn to Fly,” plus a quiet solo rendering of “Everlong.” New fare such as “Best of You” and “DOA” fit snugly into the Foos’ fierce 90-minute set.

For all their high wattage, though, the Foos weren’t much for spontaneity. When Mr. Grohl traded places with drummer Taylor Hawkins (who crooned “Cold Day in the Sun” from the band’s latest, “In Your Honor”) the switch seemed as perfunctory as an outfit change, as did Mr. Grohl’s rush toward the back of the hall for some bonding with the cheap seats.

Mr. Grohl’s recollections of the band’s days at the Black Cat (a local venue he co-owns) were a fond reminder of how far the Foos have come — and, incidentally, how professional they’ve become.

No shame in that, of course. Still, it wouldn’t have killed them to cover a Weezer song.

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