Members of Jimkata, Aqueous and John Brown’s Body are spending the weekend paying tribute to alternative rock legends Weezer. The four-piece outfit will bring their “Only in Dreams” Tribute to Ithaca, Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo.
“Only in Dreams” kicks off Thursday in Rochester at Flour City Station. The quartet will move to the Hollow in Albany on Friday, June 2 and then the Haunt in Ithaca on June 3. The four shows will conclude on Sunday, June 4 in Buffalo at Buffalo Iron Works. The four night engagement will highlight Weezer‘s Blue Album and Pinkerton, in addition to a few B-sides.
In mid-March, Jimkata vocalist and guitarist Evan Friedell was working on an article about his five favorite albums. He innocently posted on Facebook, “Who wants to play a Weezer cover show??” Much to his surprise, the response from his fellow musicians was positive.
“I was deep in the midst of a nostalgic Weezer rage session when I made that post so I’m not really sure what I meant by it,” Friedell told NYS Music, “but I was surprised by the enthusiasm and sincerity of the responses I got, so I began to think this could actually happen.”
Friedell noted that it wasn’t until Bassist Dan Africano (John Brown’s Body, Elephant Wrecking Ball) reached out to him that the scope of the project began to take shape. “It wasn’t until a couple weeks later when Dan hit me up like ‘So when are we doing this?’ that we started to put it together.
For Friedell, it was a natural fit to also enlist Jimkata drummer Packy Lunn. “I knew Packy would be down because we actually started playing music together in middle school doing Weezer songs. And I’ve known Mike [Gantzer] to have an encyclopedic knowledge of anything that he loves. So, when he said ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to do this’ I took him seriously.”
Aqueous vocalist and guitarist Mike Ganzter, told NYS Music that his passion for the project is deeply rooted. “Weezer, for me, was one of the first bands that really spoke to me; I was 13 years old when I received their Blue Album from an older (much cooler) cousin, and it was pretty life changing.”
Gantzer went on to tell NYS Music that although he is familiar with the music, tributes like this one pose a unique challenge for musicians. “It’s quite a bit of work to get everything together and learn all the material enough to really do it justice, but it’s an amazing exercise musically, because Weezer’s music is very particular and interesting and folks might be surprised to learn that a lot of it isn’t very easy to play or sing at all! I love a great challenge and it feels SO good to me to play these songs and get a chance to rock out with members of other bands I respect so much.”
Friedell noted similar sentiments. “Rivers [Cuomo] is such a great songwriter and guitar player. Weezer has these pop-rock songs that on the surface sound simple but as you listen closer are actually quite intricate and detailed, both in terms of the arrangements and lyrics. We’re discovering this as we practice the material. There’s moments where you discover some key change or time signature change you never noticed before or some lyrical oddity that you never heard correctly. And the guitar solos are always just as catchy as the rest of the song which I think is genius. They don’t waste a moment at all.”
Show times vary based on venue. Tickets for all four shows are still available.