Reviewed Oct. 29, 1994.

Reviewed Oct. 29, 1994.

Since the release of “Mental Jewelry,” Live’s 1991 Radioactive Records debut, big things have been expected from the York, Pa., foursome. Combining informed, intelligent lyrics, intensely powerful song arrangements and a gimmick-free posture, Live is the perfect antidote to pop music’s usual self-absorbed would-be stars.

Saturday at the Ventura Theater, Live again demonstrated its ability to turn what appear to be ordinary pop/rock songs into transcendental moments of concert strength and passion. Singer Ed Kowalczyk’s voice slyly moved from calm reservation to window-rattling cries of anger and fear, energizing his bandmates as well as the near-capacity crowd.

Songs from the band’s superlative current album, “Throwing Copper,” dominated the 65-minute set and provided most of the evening’s highlights. The dynamic hook of “All Over You,” the moving sentiment of “Lightning Crashes” and the quartet’s latest single, the infectious “I Alone,” stood out, as did a new tune, “Freaks,” and first-album songs “Beauty of Gray” and “Pain Lies on the Riverside.”

Opener Weezer keeps improving as a live act, shedding the introverted bearing of earlier gigs. The young, DGC-signed L.A. band, whose Everly Brothers-meet-Nirvana sound fueled recent MTV hit “Undone — The Sweater Song,” have a knack for sweet pop melodies and searing, modern guitar sounds that translate well to the stage.

Inaccurately dubbed “geek rock” (owing to the group’s seemingly outdated style of dress), Weezer’s music is rich with tasty vocal harmonies and garage-band straightforwardness, an approach that could well prove quite successful, should the band continue to improve.

Live; Weezer

(Ventura Theater; 850 seats; $ 17.50 top)

Production

Promoted in-house.

Cast

Bands: Live: Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer , Chad Gracey; Weezer: Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell, Matt Sharp, Patrick Wilson.
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