I love the experience of live music. Regardless of the genre, location, or skillset of the band, I enjoy all the things that come with live music. I also, admittedly, go down a multitude of YouTube live music rabbit holes daily. I recently wasted a couple hours diving head-first into one of those rabbit holes, which yielded this video. I watched it seemingly 100 times. There were, and still are, so many thoughts that circle my head when watching this young band tiptoe through the first 30 seconds of a Weezer song at a talent show. Although the keyboard fall is the climax of the video, there are so many other wonderful things that take place before and after.
Here are my observations in chronological order:
- Electronic drumkit. Unlike a normal drumset, the electronic kit has pads in place of the toms, snare, and cymbals. Rather than letting the entire neighborhood know about your drumkit, you simply plug the electronic drums into headphones, or through an amp – like the drummer in this video. An electronic set is every parent’s dream when their kid wants a drumkit, but every drummer’s nightmare when they actually have to play live. You don’t look very cool with an electronic drumset. I mean, plugging drums into an amp?! The electronic kit in this video, right from the beginning, tells me something amazing is about to happen. Kind of like when I see a local band’s drummer setup before a show with an unnecessary apparatus and frame for the drumkit. The band turns out to be terrible, every time. Bro, you’re playing at No Frills Grill in Watauga on a Tuesday night. You don’t need that ridiculous drumkit. I digress. Real quick, though, the obnoxious drumkit for a local band often means there is a cover band, maybe even a tribute band on the bill for the night. Like, maybe Kreed is playing with Corn that night.
- The members of the band: high school kids about to play what appears to be a talent show in the school auditorium. I did this once in high school. I stood there, stiff as a log, and played rhythm guitar, trying to keep pace with the drummer who never once played a simple groove, in time, during the songs. The verses became one long Keith Moon drum fill, and each chorus a dogshit attempt at a John Bonham solo. It was impossible to keep any kind of rhythm when the drummer was switching between “Won’t Get Fooled Again” drum fills and the solo from “Moby Dick.” The singer/lead guitarist made ducklip faces at the crowd, kind of like the half-shirted guy from the School of Rock talent show. Anyways, these kids reminded me of me at my talent show: petrified, anxious, and afraid of messing up.
- The music starts with the electronic drumkit, but the guitar quickly swoops in. Most Weezer tracks are amazing talent show songs. Weezer songs are, generally, very simple on all instruments. However, every once in a while, we run into a Weezer song that involves guitar picking. Rather than cranking up the distortion and playing simple power chords, picking requires that the guitarist play individual strings while simultaneously switching finger positions on the fretboard. Not easy, and it is so much easier for the audience to detect mistakes. Picking is way more challenging than power chords. It is nightmare fuel for anyone concerned about messing up in front of a live audience. These wonderful musicians chose “The Sweater Song,” a well-known guitar picking Weezer song. Once the guitar kicks in, you can hear the flubs, which I can relate to more than anyone knows. He picks the wrong string at one point, and puts his finger on the wrong fret at one point. You can see him quickly switching his eyes and focus from the positioning of his fingers on the fretboard to making sure he is picking the correct string. Once I saw the electronic drumkit, though, I knew we would get to this exact guitar picking.
- Does the bass player have his amp on? I’m not kidding. Either it’s not turned on, or he has it so low you can’t hear it. All the low notes seem to be coming from the root notes of the guitar. Again, classic high school talent show. They probably didn’t have any time to sound check their 8” Roland speakers. Soundcheck really is a crucial prerequisite for a decent sounding live show. I bet they didn’t get one.
- Keyboard falls. The kid playing keyboard doesn’t have a mic stand. He holds the mic with one hand, and plays the keyboard with the other. Whose mom forgot to bring the mic stand? My favorite part of the video is not when the keyboard falls. It is the drummer right after the keyboard falls. He plays a quick two-hitter on the ride cymbal/pad. In one way, this is a classic drummer. If given a moment of silence, or any opportunity, a drummer is going to play the drums, even if just for 5 seconds. They can’t help it. But the cymbal hit also is great because it is like a “budum ching” end to the keyboard falling.
- The general reaction of the band and the audience. Complete social and physical paralysis. The band members just kind of stare at the keyboard. The guitar player finally makes his way to the keyboard to help set it up again. But the bass player and drummer never move. As the video nears an end, and people are helping to setup the keyboard again, the drummer, like I said, can’t help it..he gives the cymbal a couple taps. He just can’t help himself.
- End it with a dad joke. The emcee comes out and tries to get the crowd into it by saying it was the band’s first smashed keyboard.