Donning a bright red, checkered suit with requisite suspenders and sporting perfectly quaffed hair, Cameron Boyer (vocals, guitar) of Weathers could have emanated the sultry, greater-than-thou swagger of Alex Turner or the 1975’s Matt Healy. Instead, he exuded warmth and excitement as the band took the stage to open for Saint Motel at the Great American Music Hall on Saturday night.
The band, newly formed out of Los Angeles in 2015, quickly took control of the crowd with a seemingly effortless combination of layered, upbeat hooks and confident calls for audience participation. Before launching into set-closer “Happy Pills,” the band’s newest single, Boyer taught the audience the chorus, and appeared genuinely happy at the audience’s unison response. The song, self-referenced by the band as a “stupid little ditty we wrote,” was actually a rousing, dance-worthy tune that embodied the carefree, boisterous atmosphere the band created over the course of the set.
Which, perhaps, is the best way to describe their performance — a rollicking, chord-bashing good time with an appropriate sprinkling of indie-rock guitar licks and brass instrumentation. In truth, “Happy Pills” is a silly song, but it is also a conscious choice by the band that frees it from the general moodiness attached to much indie-rock lyricism and makes for a highly entertaining live performance.
The impression one gets watching these young performers — Boyer graduated high school the same year the band was formed — is that they set out to write with the primary intention of producing music that is fun to play and fun to listen to. They’ve succeeded, and, in the process, have discovered a talent for stagecraft that would have you believe they’ve been touring for a few years.
Watching Weathers’ performance, it was the minor details that painted a cohesive image of natural stage presence. Though Weathers’ set was short — only five or six songs — Boyer took the time to introduce lead guitarist Cameron Olsen, bassist and keyboardist Brennen Bates and drummer Cole Carson to the crowd, leading to uproarious cheers for each band member. All four performers had grins on their faces as they played, while managing to keep the group harmonies tight and balanced. No one stole the spotlight, and even with the limited stage space, the band integrated enough movement in its set to pull the audience into dancing.
On the other hand, while compelling, driving performances are perfect for an opening gig, the challenge the band faces now is the retention of its newly found fan base. The number of Saint Motel fans that will come out to Weathers’ headlining sets in the future depends on more than the group putting on a fun, upbeat show. There’s a lyrical aspect that the band must consider as well, a question of emotional resonance on the part of the listener that will pull them back again and again.
As much as really fun, lighthearted tunes with a heavy rock backing are a welcome, slightly underrepresented addition to the alternative-rock soundscape, as the band begins producing full-length albums, more complex internal themes both lyrically and instrumentally would help build a connection with its growing fan base. It’s the balance between irreverent pop-rock and more personal takes that has solidified the fanbases of bands like Walk the Moon, You Me at Six and The Kooks. If they can find that balance, Weathers will easily become a permanent fixture in the alternative-rock scene.
Contact Imad Pasha at [email protected].