Wheatus, seven-piece American rock band most known for their timeless classic ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ graced the Rescue Rooms stage last night, playing a show that was unique in comparison to anything I had previously seen.
They had one of the most relaxed entrances I’ve experienced, setting up much of their own equipment and instruments, and casually walking out onto the stage, which set the tone for the kind of chilled atmosphere that would ensue for the duration of the show. One of the first things frontman, lead vocalist and guitarist Brendan B. Brown announced was that there wouldn’t be a setlist as they hadn’t prepared one for this tour, instead letting the audience choose what they wanted. Brown started the show with an invitation for requests, which was repeated after each song, minus the couple of songs that the band chose themselves in between requests, including covers of songs such as Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect.’ This request setup was a really cool element to the gig, showing that Wheatus care about their fans by giving them the opportunity to see their favourite songs live.
The relaxed nature of the show eradicated the usual feeling of separation between band and audience, instead making it feel as if we were all just hanging out together. Brendan engaged with the crowd throughout the show, showing off his humble, funny, and likeable personality as well as that of the other band members, whilst avoiding impersonal crowd-hyping. This community feeling was further enhanced by the variety of audience members, some of which wouldn’t have been born when Wheatus’ first album was released, and some who would have been older than the band at this time.
The removal of a conventional setlist meant that Wheatus played a vast selection of their music, ranging from old to new, including a preview of some music from their seventh album which is yet to be released. The new music they played was much heavier in comparison to their previous work, which hints that they have some pretty exciting stuff in store.
As well as playing a range of music in terms of album diversity, they were diverse in the way their songs were performed. Alongside their standard performance of songs, Wheatus played some music without the amps in tribute to a previous show where their main plug was accidentally pulled out, and Brendan even stuck behind after their set to play an acoustic version of ‘BMX Bandits’ by the merch stand.
The final song Wheatus played on stage was ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ which was surreal to see live and ended the show on a high note, further showing off Brendan’s unhindered vocals which were impressive throughout the show. Whilst I, admittedly, don’t listen to Wheatus’ music very often, after seeing them play I’ll certainly be listening to them a whole lot more, and urge anybody who hasn’t to check them out.