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Say it Ain't So: Sheezer @ Club Lambi Oct. 30

Posted by Jer / October 29, 2010

SheezerDo you ever wonder how a band like Weezer can produce two seminal albums, staples of the alternative 90s canon, and then go on to make a half dozen mediocre albums that seem to totally betray what was so great about the band in the first place? The Blue Album and Pinkerton spoke to a generation of apathetic, ironic, irreverent proto-hipsters looking for new sounds to lose themselves in; Weezer were the anti-heroes offering refuge. Do you ask yourself how a band responsible for a song as perfect as "Holiday" as or as humble as "Across the Sea" can also write this? I do. Almost every time I throw on those two albums or every time I hear critics promise that the next Weezer album is the best thing since those discs. And I'm willing to bet it's not just me. In fact, I know there's a scholarly thesis on the topic. And there's Sheezer.

An all-women Weezer cover band based in Toronto, Sheezer only play tunes from those two life-changing albums. No "Slave", no "Glorious Day". Just the classics, note for note. The band are playing a rare show here in Montreal this weekend.

"Rare" because Sheezer only has a handful of shows under its belt and this is one of their first gigs outside of Toronto. They're riding a lot of hype and, of course, an awesome name (though wait until you hear their suggestions for future side projects).

Not just a cover band, Sheezer is a super group of talented Canadian indie women featuring Laura Barrett (The Hidden Cameras, solo), Dana Snell (The Bicycles, Gentleman Reg), Robin Hatch (Sports the Band), Alysha Haugen and Magali Meagher (the Phonemes). Despite the fact there's five of them, they do a pretty solid imitation, hitting as many harmonies and guitarmonies as you'd expect from early vintage Weezer.

Whereas some people want to see Weezer call it quits, Sheezer is happy to pay tribute to these iconic, if sometimes inconsistent, rockers. You'll never mistake Sheezer for the real thing, but you'll remember what it is you loved about grunge in 1994.

I recently spoke with Sheezer's drummer, Dana Snell about the project. Read on for more info and be sure to head over to Club Lambi on Saturday night and watch them resurrect greatness (and hey, you know about the party after the show? aww man, it's gonna be the best):

As a cover band, where do you see the line between imitation and homage?
I see Sheezer as a pretty straight up cover band with the one twist being that we're all women. Weezer is, to me, a very male band - they play like dudes, Rivers sings like a dude, the songs are often about girls - so to have that male music delivered by women is, I think, interesting and maybe even a little startling.

How have fans received your shows so far? Are they mostly Weezer fans looking to re-live the heydays of alternative, fans of your other Canadian indie projects, or people who thought they were at a hip hop show for someone named Sheezy?
No Sheezy mixups yet! So far the response has been great - everyone sings along and has fun and that's exactly what we want. There's nobody standing in the back with their arms folded frowning when we miss a chord. I would say at this point people coming to our shows are fans of our main projects who are also Weezer fans. That being said, we have yet to play outside of Toronto where our main projects are best known. Perhaps on this tour we will encounter Weezer fans who have never heard of us in any other context.

You're taking on some pretty canonical material you feel pressure trying to capture Weezer's sound/image or do you feel relieved that you aren't having to play your own material?
There is a comfort in taking the guesswork out of it - there is no searching for the sound or questioning your decisions, the desired end result is right there for you to listen to. However there is pressure for sure, we want to be as faithful to the material as we can and I think it's a process to get there. A lot of it involves gear! Which we have of course, but not the perfect gear...yet...

What happens after this tour for Sheezer? Will you go on to cover other (more mediocre) Weezer albums or cover other exalted indie bands (Sheerhunter, Shediohead, etc.)?
I don't think we'll go beyond those two albums except maybe the odd addition of some B-sides or one or two newer songs. Part of the idea of Sheezer is the nostalgia factor. When we started it we envisioned it filling a need for Weezer fans to hear the old Weezer songs, unadulterated. However now Weezer is planning a Blinkerton tour so they're stepping on our toes a bit! Just kidding. Also, our working title for a female Radiohead cover band is Labiohead.

What's your theory on why Weezer's latest discs don't capture the magic of the Blue Album and Pinkerton?
I feel they're playing it a bit safe now. The Blue Album and Pinkerton are, on the surface, rock records but a listen reveals they are actually very unique and in some ways pretty weird. There was nothing out there like them, at the time, and I think there hasn't really been since. That's what made them so remarkable when they came out and what's makes them sound fresh so many years later. I don't feel the new material has that oddness, that uniqueness.

What's your favourite Weezer song?
It's always changing but right now it's No One Else.

w DJ KOOL MUAD'DIB (spinning 90s indie rock)
Club Lambi
Oct. 30, 2010



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