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Toronto supergroup, Sheezer hits Zaphod’s on Thursday

By Lee Pepper on October 21, 2014

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We often have the strongest attachments to music we listen to in our teens. Members of Sheezer, like many of their listeners, discovered the angsty alternative rock band Weezer at a formative time in their lives.  On October 23rd, Ottawans will have the opportunity to relive their own teen years when Sheezer plays at Zaphod’s.

As their name suggests, Sheezer is a group of female musicians who play covers of Weezer songs. The band is something of a Toronto supergroup: members of the band also play or have played in The Hidden Cameras, Our Lady Peace, Gentleman Reg, The Phonemes, and Sports. And Sheezer has been given Weezer’s stamp of approval: the band’s renown grew exponentially when Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo shared their Facebook page on his Twitter account in late 2009.

Sheezer also only play songs from Weezer’s Blue Album (1994)  and Pinkerton (1996), sparing audiences the familiar disappointment of pretending to care about a band’s new material while waiting to hear their golden oldies. For Sheezer, playing songs that their audiences know all the words to and has fond memories of is part of the fun, a pleasure which many smaller bands don’t get to experience.  Rather than attempting to reimagine the material, Sheezer focus on performing the songs as faithfully to the originals as possible.  Having performed together since 2009, they’ve got the material pretty well nailed.

Sheezer’s fascination with Weezer isn’t without ambivalence.   Sheezer guitarist and keyboard player Robin Hatch acknowledged that Rivers Cuomo has often come across in his music as “a bit of a creep”.  Hatch also mentioned, in an interview with VICE, that that Cuomo’s mysterious social media presence helped to build her fascination with the band when she was first becoming interested in them: “Rivers Cuomo had a Myspace, and he was like this Nicholas Cage–type figure to me and my friends on Myspace back in the day. We thought it was funny that he was on this social networking website and would read your messages but not respond to them, because you could see he had done that.”

Since Weezer has a long history of writing pretty creepy lyrics about women, seeing Sheezer could be seen as a way to enjoy Weezer’s songs in a way that subverts their sometimes misogynistic content.  But even if you’re not interested in unpacking Sheezer’s implications for the gender politics of rock, the band is widely acknowledged to be extremely fun performers who know how to get a crowd pumped up and nostalgically singing along.

Sheezer is playing at Zaphod Beeblebrox (27 York St), on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, at 8PM.  Tickets are $10 and available online.

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