Unfortunately for fans who have been waiting seven years, or at least since their return was announced last October, they weren't worth the wait. Except for ex-Weezer bassist/lead vocalist for the Rentals Matt Sharp, who bounced all over the stage with oodles of energy, the rest of this L.A.-based band oozed apathy and mediocrity for most of the show.
The night's performances could have – and probably should have – been flipped on their head because opening act Irving, also from L.A., stole the show. They transported the Fonda back to the days when rock 'n' roll was simple and sweet. Cats there to see the Rentals found themselves tapping their toes and trying to hum along to unknown ditties.
Featuring three rotating lead vocalists and just enough keyboard musings to put a new wave spin on their throwback ‘60s sound, Irving tra-la-la'ed to mostly folk-pop-rock arrangements. The five-piece rock outfit played tunes ranging from surfer to greaser to cowboy. Light and fresh and thoughtful, Irving was unquestionably the highlight of the evening.
Ozma, a power-pop new wave band from Pasadena, played a safe and uninspiring set. They never made a grab for the spotlight merely connecting the dots for the opening and closing acts. Let's just say that this was when the line at the ladies room began to stretch itself out.One thing that was apparent while listening to the Rentals perform was how artistically influential Sharp was on the always wavering, yet hugely popular pop-punk band Weezer. The sonic similarities are undeniable, yet both bands are lacking that spark they had when Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo and Sharp were working together