Recommended Concerts: Pixies and Weezer at Riverbend Music Center (July 6)

Bands' co-headlining tour provides a chance to hear two of the late 20th century's most influential AltRock bands

click to enlarge Pixies - Photo: Travis Shinn
Photo: Travis Shinn

Though operating on different timelines, Weezer and Pixies each had a massive, crucial impact on “Alternative Rock,” helping to inspire and shape its sound for decades to come.

Pixies emerged in the latter half of the ’80s and, though their eccentric and innovative music was beloved by a loyal core of fans that included David Bowie and Bono, it didn’t earn them enough success to overlook the internal friction that ultimately pulled them apart. Still, albums like Surfer Rosa and Doolittle inspired ensuing Alt/Indie bands on a Sex Pistols- or Velvet Underground-like level. By the time some of those groups so foundationally influenced by Pixies broke “Alternative” into the mainstream, Frank Black and Co. were bringing its initial run to an end, not returning until over a decade later to reap what they’d sown with world tours, a few different bassists and occasional new music.

One of the many groups that took inspiration from Pixies was Weezer (see below for proof), which exploded with its classic quadruple-platinum “Blue Album” in 1994, a year after the Pixies split. Weezer got to experience massive success and witness the emergence of an unending stream of new artists influenced by its hyper-melodic, classics-informed sound. Inspiring a kind of new Power Pop scene in the wake of its debut, Weezer’s lasting impact can be heard in Pop Punk and Emo, as well innumerable songs by other artists who live on unabashedly huge Pop hooks. Weezer parlayed its early success into a consistent career, with regular, well-selling albums and tours, the occasional radio hit and other strange moments of relevancy, like when they achieved meme infamy by recording Toto’s “Africa” in response to a grassroots Twitter campaign.

Between the artists influenced by them and the subsequent musicians inspired by those disciples (and so on), the legacies of Pixies and Weezer are among the most important of any late 20th century Rock bands, inspiring billions of hours of music.

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