Tenacious Pumpkins Anyone?

Galaxy Concert Theatre
Sunday, Nov. 18

Last time Billy “My head looks like a penis tip” Corgan made his presence known in OC, he was fronting Smashing Pumpkins at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. At the particular gig we witnessed then, Billy-Boy got all pissy and bitchy because some wag in the crowd pelted him with a T-shirt. Sensing he wasn't getting the copious amounts of love he and his band deserved, Silly Billy cut the set short and stomped offstage, fuming. Awww!

Yeah, so Corgan's one of those sensitive-artist types who needs to be pampered and coddled until he gets his own way. For instance, look at the demands he made on the Galaxy peeps for this not-very-secret show, stuff like not allowing the venue to mention “Billy Corgan” or “Smashing Pumpkins” in any of the pre-gig advertising. Still, the thing sold out well in advance—apparently there are enough leftover Pumpkins lemmings out there who think anything this guy does approaches brilliance. Like the screechy girls who stood behind us and hollered, “BIIILLLLLLY!!!” loudly (and drunkenly) into our ears, not even bothering to notice that the music Corgan and Zwan were making wasn't very good (one lass got so carried away that she dry-humped the railing next to our table—at least we hope it was dry). Granted, this was only the second public show ever from Zwan, so they may have seemed a tad rusty and moribund up there onstage, but we nonetheless left with a decided seen-and-heard-all-this-before complex. Zwan revealed themselves to be very ordinary guitar rock, the kind you can mine these days from a wide variety of other, better sources. It was mostly one grating drone after another, which Corgan barked in that equally droning voice of his. There was nothing to really advance the music anywhere, not even a smidgen of the electronic squelches that Corgan once seemed so enamored with (some intriguing such movements did surface 'round about encore time, but it all devolved into bad, redundant guitar-solo grinding and temporarily well-crafted riffage that horrifically pancaked into the ground). By the evening's end, it had all blurred together like a flurry of smelly old metal grinding, at about which point we observed that Zwan spelled backwards is Nawz, which, we concluded, must be short for “nausea.”

The crowd was largely enraptured and unquestioning, though, even during such colorless exercises as covers of the Beatles' “Don't Let Me Down” and, weirdly, Jackie DeShannon's “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” But, really, what else would we expect from a gaggle of peeps who still insist on wearing those faded, never-were-cool-to-begin-with ZERO shirts? Many were undoubtedly hoping for a stray Pumpkins tune in the set, yet Corgan's after-Smashing world looks to be free of his past life, in that screw-the-fans, that-was-then-this-is-now, John-Fogerty-on-his-1986-tour kind of way. Which is unfortunate, because Smashing Pumpkins did make some impressive tuneage sandwiched in between the overwrought. Yet if Corgan is really gonna go all-Zwan-all-the-time now, will anyone care by the time they get around to unleashing a proper album? Some oafs apparently will—at least the ones who chanted, “We love Zwan!” near the end of the night. Suckers, all of them; if Corgan and his new mates showed up onstage and rhythmically farted their new songs into buckets of ice water, they would have yelped the same damn thing.

Weezer/Tenacious D/Jimmy Eat World
Long Beach Arena
Friday, Nov. 23

Random questions that need to be asked: Why do the pack-inspection/pat-down thing, since any kind of self-respecting terrorist who'd pull something at a Weezer show would likely be laughed out of the network by his comrades? Was there not a better line during the night than when, after Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins asked if everyone called their mom on Thanksgiving, a guy two rows behind us bellowed, “Everyone here lives with their mom, dude!”? Was it not a rotten, low-down, dirty crime that the very good Jimmy Eat World had to go on before the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D? Why would KROQ's Jed the Fish bother telling the crowd how much the station loves Jimmy Eat World when it barely even plays their records? What grade of crystal meth are all the people who cheered giddily for the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D using, and where can we get some? If the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D truly are that popular, why could we only get $3 for their album at our favorite used-CD shop? Who did the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D have to blow to get their record deal? If anyone in the crowd was hurling pennies at the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D, shouldn't they have instead been throwing half-dollars because they hurt more? Was having the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D open for Weezer a plot by the famously insecure Rivers Cuomo to make Weezer appear like the Greatest Rock Band Ever? Weezer were great, though—can't they play around here more often? More often than the wretched, unfunny Tenacious D?

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