I’d been hemming and hawing inside my head whether or not I wanted to go see 90’s alt-rock favorites Everclear on Saturday night. Normally going or not going to a concert isn’t a huge decision, but Everclear’s music meant a lot to me in my teenage years. Unfortunately Art Alexakis hasn’t made any interesting music since about 2002. Furthering my anxiety was the fact that last time I saw Everclear (2008 or so) Art and his band of hired guns weren’t very good; his voice sounded shot and the performance was lackluster.
But I ended up going anyways.
Considering my nostalgic reasons for being there, my vantage point was apt: behind a tree and slightly off-center; the band a slight blur in the distance. Both band and (this) fan have lost a step over the years; “Heroin Girl” was played more at the speed on the White Trash Hell EP and “Amphetamine” chugged along at a gallop instead of a sprint. Alexakis’ voice was fine if not powerful; my own singing along was quiet and unsure.
None of those things really mattered, though. The set was almost exclusively hits, mostly from So Much for the Afterglow. The many kids in attendance enjoyed the pogo-jumping parts from “Everything to Everyone,” the parents (and other adults) jammed and danced to classics like “Father of Mine” and “I Will Buy You A New Life.” (The fact that Everclear managed to marry happy, upbeat rock music with sad, autobiographical lyrics should tell you everything you need to know about why I like them.)
Clearly Alexakis and his band didn’t give a damn about being in a Spinal Tap-like situation, playing essentially a free show at a zoo. They were jumping around and singing closely on the same mic, obviously enjoying each other’s company while feeding off the crowd.
I really didn’t go into the show expecting a whole lot. But what I saw in Art Alexakis was a man still very much in love with performing and someone who still believes in the healing power of rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe it wasn’t just like being sixteen all over again. But on a buggy summer night, some 20-year-old tunes that can still hit you right in the feels (as the kids say these days) did just fine.
So Much for the Afterglow
Everything to Everyone
Father of Mine
Heroin Girl (Art introduced this song by noting the family-friendly nature of this show)
White Men In Black Suits
Song From An American Movie, Pt. 1
Brown Eyed Girl (Art Solo)
Dueling guitar solos
AM Radio (featuring Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” intro)
Volvo-Driving Soccer Mom
I Will Buy You A New Life
Fire Maple Song
Classic Rock Riff Medley (Living After Midnight (Judas Priest) / Another One Bites the Dust (Queen) / Rock You Like A Hurricane (The Scorpions) / Rock n Roll (Led Zeppelin)