Saturday night at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand proved to be a testimony to fervent rock and roll. The Current’s Music-on-a-Stick this year featured headliner Weezer, with supporting acts the Struts and Fury Things. They all performed with a manic level of energy, while each showcased their own unique brand of unhinged, enthusiastic rock and roll.
Local group, Fury Things started off the night with a heavy-rocking set. Introduced to the crowd by The Current’s David Safar as one of the Twin Cities’ finest, Fury Things surely didn’t disappoint. It was clear the band were enjoying their time onstage. The members danced throughout the set, with bassist Devon Bryant even throwing in a few jumps for good measure. They set the stage for the impending night of raucous rock.
With the first act serving as a nod to Minnesota music, the next performers represented the talent found on the other side of the pond. The Struts, a band all the way from Derby, England, took the stage next and quite effortlessly won over the crowd.
Possessing a seemingly inexhaustible supply of passion and energy, lead singer Luke Spiller was perpetually dancing and sauntering across stage. Dressed in sparkly, metallic pants and a matching jacket, as well as a multicolored, flowing blouse, his outfit was easily as loud as the band.
There was no denying that the Struts had come to not only impress, but to have a blast while doing so.
“Minneapolis are you ready to party? Are you ready to rrrrrock and roll?” Spiller asked the crowd, adding, “I’m ready to have fun, are you lot?”
Spiller loved engaging the crowd, leading several sing-a-longs, in which the crowd happily participated in. The left and right sides of the audience were pitted against each other on several occasions, competing to see which side would have the loudest response.
The enthusiasm of the people dancing and singing from the stands did not go unappreciated, prompting Spiller to claim, “I think you’re one of the best crowds we’ve ever had.”
While the majority of people had been standing during the Struts performance, during their last song, Spiller requested the entire audience to sit down (“Everybody sit down, this is the church of rock and roll”) and stay seated until he gave the signal to jump up and dance.
As Spiller gave the signal, the entire Grandstand sprang to their feet and danced to the last few lines of the Struts’ final song.
As props were put into place for headliner Weezer, the stage began to take on an unmistakably beachy theme. A beach hut dominated as a backdrop, mirroring the art featured on the band’s tenth studio album, commonly referred to as “the White Album.” (Like three of the band’s previous albums, it’s technically self-titled.) It felt like the stage had been set for Beach Blanket Bingo rather than a rock show.
When Weezer finally stepped onstage, the seated crowed jumped to their feet and began to cheer. Weezer started the night with “California Kids,” the new album’s opener. They then threw it back to their earlier days, with “Hash Pipe” and “My Name Is Jonas.” It made little difference if the songs were brand new or beloved classics, the crowd knew the words and passionately sang along.
Several songs off the new album were performed, as well as many of their well-known classics. During “I Love the USA,” a new single released just last Friday, frontman Rivers Cuomo jumped offstage to take a lap around the crowd, handing out fist bumps along the way.
The set was embellished with several costume changes that corresponded with a few selected songs. Cuomo sported a sombrero for “Beverly Hills,” the band adorned light-up flower leis during “Island in the Sun,” and while performing “King of the World,” Cuomo was dressed, rather fittingly, as a king — crown and all.
Weezer wrapped up with “Say It Ain’t So,” a track off of their 1994 debut album. For an encore, the crowd didn’t have to wait long though before Cuomo emerged and positioned himself behind the keyboard to lead the crowd in a short cover of Fun’s “We Are Young.”
“So what do you think of the show?” Cuomo then asked. He was answered by an enthusiastic roar of cheers from the crowd.
As the rest of the band joined Cuomo on stage they continued with the encore, launching into a track off their Pinkerton album, “El Scorcho.” Weezer ended the night with the defiant rocker “Buddy Holly.” Fireworks began to peek up over the top of the Grandstand stage during the last few lines of the song, just in time to provide a spectacular ending to a night of unforgettable music.
Writer Lillian Speakman is a senior at Hamline University. Photographer Bridget Bennett attends the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities.