Wheatus at the Button Factory on September 10 2013
Wheatus. When were they last popular? Like 2000?
It’s been seven years since the band played in Ireland, now they’re doing five gigs across the country to kick off their latest European tour. Yes, Wheatus are very much still alive, and man they’re alive.
A last-minute change of venue to the Button Factory from the Village didn’t affect proceedings, at least from what we could see. Lead man and purveyor of ladies high-pitched tones, Brendan B. Brown, walked on stage before the lights had even properly come on, casually picking up a guitar from behind a stack of laptops. He could easily have been mistaken for a roadie. In fact, he probably was, as it took a few seconds for his presence to register with the small but comfortably dense crowd.
He seemed genuinely delighted to be back in Ireland, swigging whiskey like the rock n roll star that never was. They sound check right there in front of us, with… Teenage Dirtbag. Not impressed, major spoiler warnings were needed as this took a little off the build-up.
We’re immediately told that there isn’t a setlist, they don’t ‘do’ setlists, and Breno asks the audience to shout songs at them. He breaks straight into Leroy and resembles a bit of a Dad trying to break it down to some ‘rad punk’ while his children and their friends sit around with all heads in their hands.
But wait, we’ll battle through.
Out comes ‘song you didn’t knew you knew all the lyrics to’ like Truffles and Wannabe Gangster to get the energy up, slowly but surely. It’s a graft but Brendan and the lads aren’t giving up too easily. It’s the first stop on their tour and the glee on their faces says it all.
“Man I was standing at the bus stop earlier and these two Americans went by and I though, damn they’re loud.” The dude is funny, and standing there in his oversized Superman tshirt, we’re kind of rooting for him. Be good, dammit.
He is, no doubt about it. A cover of Greenday’s Basket Case and the cathartically silly Love Is A Mutt from Hell hit all the right notes, excitement properly built.
A cover of One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful is a subtle nod to the fact that the boy band frequently cover Teenage Dirtbag at their gigs. The track comes much to the dismay of one lad in the crowd who keeps his arm in the air with a thumbs-down. Finishing the playful rendition–that wasn’t half bad–Brendan says “There’s always one guy with his thumb down during that song. You know that’s the dude that sits at home Googling Harry Styles.”
Again, please be good. The winners of the night were the hits the band are best known for–predictable but in a good way. It’s a bit like betting on a match you know the outcome for. Sure, it’s not going to blow your face off, but it’ll delight you all the same.
A Little Respect is as jolly as one would expect, while closer Teenage Dirtbag is everything we wanted and more. The band invite a member of the audience up on stage, but one is never enough. The gates open and it’s a full-on invasion. Selfies are taken, hugs are given, a peaceful exit is adhered to.
Wheatus may not be on our agenda so strongly these days, but a fun-filled gig like this one will never get old.
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Photos: Abe Tarrush