Sensory Overload: The Pinkertones time travel to 1994

By Columbus Alive
From the January 9, 2014 edition

Pocket change doubled as a time machine on a recent Friday at Kobo.

The Pinkertones, performing the first night of a two-night stand, planned to play Weezer’s Blue Album and Pinkerton on consecutive evenings, with a coin flip at the start of the first concert determining the pecking order. Sharon Udoh of opener The DewDroppers did the honors, and when the coin turned up heads the audience was instantly transported back to 1994 — the year Weezer’s Blue Album surfaced.

Though many of the songs on Weezer’s much-ballyhooed debut celebrate escapism and solitude, with singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo alternately holing up at home (“In My Garage”) and in his own head (“Only in Dreams”), here they functioned as communal anthems, with the audience boisterously singing/shouting each word alongside Pinkertones frontman Phil Cogley.

Cogley and his band, which included local mainstays Alex Weinhardt (drums), Ben Schreiber (bass) and Jacob Wooten (guitar), fed off this energy, delivering an hour-long set that transcended mere nostalgia. True, the songs didn’t venture far from the originals, but the mates appeared less invested in recreating a note-for-note copy of the album than in capturing the wit, pathos and power-pop energy of tunes like “My Name is Jonas” and the towering “Say It Ain’t So.” Best of all might have been the majestic “Only in Dreams,” which simmered for five hypnotic minutes before the twin guitarists locked in and pushed the song to a grand climax, like a plane picking up speed and gracefully lifting off the runway.

Of course any attendees hoping to hear later Weezer material like “Hash Pipe” might have been disappointed; they probably would have had as much luck getting fictional ’80s Billy Joel cover band Uptown Girl to play “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Instead the focus remained wholly on that era prior to the time Cuomo started cavorting with Muppets. In turn, The Pinkertones offered up a handful of time-appropriate B-sides, bashing through a gnarled take on “Mykel & Carli” and a sweetly melodic “Suzanne.” The band also previewed Saturday’s show, performing a pair of cuts off Pinkerton: “Why Bother?” and a riotous “The Good Life.” Judging by the brief teaser, I’m betting audiences enjoyed the second evening every bit as much as the first.