In this current age of nostalgia for alternative ’90s, where cult bands reunite to gracious crowds they had known in their original run, this seems like a good time as any for the return of the Rentals. What began as a Weezer/That Dog. supergroup in between Blue Album and Pinkerton, has turned into a vehicle for Matt Sharp, who supplied the bass and harmony vocals on the two aforementioned records (both considered classics at this point,) to come out of the woodshed and make synth–laden, baroque-influenced new wave pop with high aptitude. With fans ecstatic over Weezer making an album that doesn’t completely stink, Sharp returned with a new version of the Rentals to make the record Lost In Alphaville, a masterfully catchy glam concept album that absolutely murders his former band’s contribution.
This tour was an absolute celebration, with Sharp reaching a new apex as a frontman, performing with a hot-shit version of “The Rentals” to a crowd of cult fans. The familiar wall of sound with female vocals and layered synths, augment by guitar shredding by Ozma’s Ryan Slegr, was received with absolute joy, as they went through tracks from Alphaville as well as classics like “Please Let That Be You” and “Waiting.” MHOW was hardly packed to its capacity, but Sharp was reaching into the crowd at the lip of stage, sharing the mic and making a real connection with the devoted fans.
The second half of the set became outrageous, including a near industrial take on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”. For the encore section, Sharp appeared in the crowd followed by the two female singers, with an Omnichord plugged into a PA, to perform a song from the middle of the floor. If things didn’t get even weird enough, in the middle of “Friends of P.”, Sharp left the stage only to return in full Ghostbusters gear (including backpack), flanked by a crew member dressed as the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man; they perfomed an extended funk jam on (you guessed it) Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters.” This was Sharp clearly really enjoying himself, touring behind what he calls the favorite record he’s ever worked on.