sat 20/07/2024

Smashing Pumpkins / Weezer, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - double-bill of unlikely bedfellows makes a racket | reviews, news & interviews

Smashing Pumpkins / Weezer, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - double-bill of unlikely bedfellows makes a racket

Smashing Pumpkins / Weezer, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - double-bill of unlikely bedfellows makes a racket

Both 90s favourites went hard and heavy, if occasionally too bludgeoning

The Smashing Pumpkins, dressed to impress for a night with WeezerJason Renaud

The current trend for package tours with two headliners appears to be growing, and this jaunt presented somewhat unlikely bedfellows – the theatrical angst of Billy Corgan’s crew and Rivers Cuomo’s indie trendsetters united by a shared love for guitar histrionics, 90s nostalgia for those who remember MTV2 and not much else.

Fitting both bands in required an early onstage time (pity support act Teen Mortgage, who trundled onstage at 6.30pm), while the night’s format presented a few quirks that resembled a festival, from the heavy turnover of people moving about between sets to a clear need for sustenance during the lengthy show. This meant that when the Pumpkins arrived for the concluding set, there was a strong aroma of pizza in the air among some of the seated sections. Rock n ’roll it was not.

It was also, as Weezer singer Cuomo pointed out, not the same as Doja Cat, who he had been to see at the Glasgow venue the previous night. This was evident from a somewhat sparse stage set up, with only the band’s logo as accompaniment, but it did prompt the singer to have a go at Twerking. It is fair to say Ms Dlamini has nothing to worry about there, though it offered a reminder of the group’s playful nature. 

Their set, however, was robust. The group’s fondness for catchy pop choruses can easily be reworked into chantable football terrace anthems, as on a typically bright “Islands in the Sun” and a sparkling “Perfect Situation”, while the big dumb riff of “Hash Pipe” stomped along merrily. They were at their best on heavier numbers, as the arena setting sometimes swallowed up melodies. 

A cover of Hole’s "Celebrity Skin" did not convince either, but the set eased through the gears enjoyably before closing, inevitably, with the power pop perfection of “Buddy Holly” and Cuomo waving the microphone stand around like a gleeful champion.  

In contrast to that cheer, the Smashing Pumpkins arrived in a more intense mood from the off, with “The Everlasting Gaze” a weighty, pummelling opener. That isn’t to say Billy Corgan wasn’t enjoying himself, as he spent a portion of the set dancing around the stage in surprisingly lithe fashion. During “Beguiled” his children even joined him, albeit one of whom looked like they would rather be elsewhere. 

However you sometimes wished the music could be as flexible as their frontman, for while they make a great racket, and in Jimmy Chamberlain possess a terrific drummer, the sheer bludgeoning nature of it all could wear you down. “Springtimes” was so leaden as to be stationary, the sludgy “That Which Animates The Spirit” became bogged down rock and a late set “Gossamer” drifted into interminable guitar work and never emerged from it.

 Like “the Weezers”, as Corgan referred to them, there was a businesslike approach here, with little chat, and that lack of interaction created an atmosphere that was subdued for stretches of the two hour set. And yet, you still forgive them this, because there were enough moments that really did roar out – and on those moments it was like a switch had been flicked, and a horde of bouncing faithful started partying like it was 1999, notably on the mosh-inducing “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and the angular brilliance of “1979”.

However if those expected big hitters delivered, right through to the closing “Zero”, there was subtlety in there too, with the baroque flourishes of “Disarm” and the effective new wave posture of “Spellbinding” providing enough nourishment to satisfy the appetite.

a horde of bouncing faithful started partying like it was 1999

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters