The dream of the 90s was alive in Dallas last night as Everclear kicked off their Summerland tour. Bringing along Local H and Marcy Playground, the stench of nostalgia was enough to singe your nose hairs. While the Gas Monkey Live was only about a third full, I was surprised so many people were there at 8:00 to hear Local H. Local H is a classic 90s one-hit wonder who has consistently been touring and making music since their first album in 1995. And hey, let’s give the duo some credit. They were doing the 2-piece, drummer and guitarist thing way before the White Stripes or the Black Keys or the Japandroids. Their set was fine. Nothing spectacular. Of course, “Bound to the Floor” got the biggest reaction from the late-30-something/40-something crowd. But, during their next song I was struck at how much it sounded like an Everclear song. Or just the 90s, I suppose. The diluted Nirvana/Pixies guitar tone and loud/quiet/loud template that saturated the era so deeply is now just a pop culture cliché. With about three songs remaining, singer/guitarist Scott Lucas inexplicably broke a guitar strap. He had swapped out guitars at least once during their set and I didn’t notice if he was keeping the same guitar strap, but it was a little sad that he played the last few songs holding his guitar awkwardly. Have you guys been on the road before? Did you seriously only bring one guitar strap? Couldn’t one of the other bands road crew toss you a backup? It didn’t have any effect on the show, it was just kind of funny.
Marcy Playground took the stage dressed like someone’s Dad and with all the enthusiasm three fatally underwhelmed dudes could muster. They opened with some lethargic mid-tempo jam that sounded like all the other songs that would follow. The crowd, not unlike Local H’s set, applauded loudly when the songs predictably ended, but spent most their time finger-banging their phones, taking selfies with their friends, or otherwise just standing there emotionless. Then a song would end and they suddenly were enthusiastic. Non punk and metal crowds in Dallas are seriously the lamest crowds imaginable. When the band broke into “Sex and Candy,” the crowd acted like they had just got cold-cocked. A few dozen folks sang along, ladies slowly swayed with their partners, and then a bunch of people went back to the bar for another drink or outside to smoke when it was over. I’ll never understand why anyone goes to a show to hear one song from a band. My cynical characterizations of the band aside, they are good at what they do. All the songs were flawlessly performed.
When Everclear took the stage around 10:00, the boring ass crowd finally showed some signs of life. Band leader, founder, guitarist, and vocalist Art Alexakis took the stage to a roaring applause as the band kicked in to “Rock Star,” a song they haven’t performed live in 15 years. Alexakis would tell the crowd they would be playing lots of older material in a response to fan requests, which delighted everyone on hand. “Heroin Girl,” “Electra Made Me Blind,” and “Summerland” from the bands 1995 album Sparkle and Fade were greeted with enthusiasm. But, of course the radio hits are what got the crowd moving. “Father of Mine,” “Everything to Everyone,” and “I Will Buy You a New Life” had the crowd giddy and singing along. It was reassuring that the Dallas fans were finally showing signs of life, especially as it was getting close to their bedtimes. Alexakis and his band were tight as a whip considering this was the first show of the tour. They didn’t seem rusty at all and looked like they were genuinely happy to be out performing the deeper cuts from their catalog. The band closed their set with their first big hit, “Santa Monica” and the crowd got so enthused I thought they might coax an encore. They didn’t. But, I was pretty impressed with Everclear’s set. These guys are veterans and shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a 90s band. They worked hard, played to the crowd, and delivered a high energy set. I’ll be damned if I didn’t have fun.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); DeLisa McMurray (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –