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MUSIC REVIEW

Weezer and Foo Fighters are an inspired pairing

WORCESTER -- Bringing together the nerds (Weezer) and the cool cats (Foo Fighters) might have seemed unwieldy to some fans of each group. Never fear. This co-headlining bill was an inspired idea that resulted in one of the best rock shows of the season.

A sellout crowd of 12,000 basked in the self-deprecating, anti-rock-star wit of Weezer, then caught a ride on Foo Fighters' definitive, rock-star express, complete with lasers, smoke bombs, and multi-video screens.

Some fans will debate which act was better, but why bother? The bottom line is that each was superlative in its own way. And the pairing makes more sense when you realize that each band released its first album in the mid-'90s, so their timelines, if not their styles, are similar.

Weezer went on first and charmed the crowd with its nerd-chic attitude. Singer Rivers Cuomo, an unlikely frontman in a green-striped sweater and black sneakers (but no Buddy Holly glasses this time), uncorked such Napoleon Dynamite-like parodies as ''We Are All on Drugs" (singing nonchalantly, ''The world don't care if you're not there 'cuz you're on drugs") and recent hit ''Beverly Hills," with the tart vocal that Bevery Hills is ''something you're born into and I just don't belong." He did belong on stage, however, as he ripped off dazzling guitar leads, played several instruments, and ran to a B stage at the other end of the arena.

Cuomo & Co., whose nervy pop-rock traces a path from the Kinks to the Gin Blossoms, added some more drug humor (''Hash Pipe"), did a Foo Fighters song in tribute (''Big Me"), brought up a fan (a la Green Day) to perform some guitar during ''Undone -- The Sweater Song," and scorched through a cover of Blur's ''Song 2" to heighten the fun.

Foo Fighters then shot the volume up and blared through a hard-rock set that opened with singer Dave Grohl biting down hard on the line ''Can you hear me, hear me screamin'?" from the title track to the band's latest album, ''In Your Honor." The group rampaged through hit after hit (''My Hero," ''Best of You," and ''Times Like These" stood out), while Grohl flapped his long hair, fingered rapier-like guitar leads, and got a little ''sloppy and loud," as he promised. He added some local color by dedicating ''Up in Arms" to Lowell boxer Micky Ward, and ''DOA" to Boston's Dropkick Murphys. He also played one song on drums, which gloriously reminded fans of his days with Nirvana.

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