Show Review

Everclear @ Agora Theater 5/30

Lisa Sanchez

I wasn't sure what to expect when I walked into the Agora for the Everclear show. When I was 10 years old I got turned on to Everclear, like most other young children at that time, because of Now That's What I Call Music! That's right. My old school, "nobody remembers that," credentials are still fully intact. But, from there, Everclear always operated in an unusual space in my pre-teen music career. They played alongside bands like Eve 6, 3 Doors Down, Creed (shut up, I was young), and Greenday, but they didn't become a permanent fixture of my musical repertoire once I hit age 12.

However, I still fondly remember Everclear's greatest hits from my childhood like "I Will Buy You a New Life," "Father of Mine" and "Wonderful." When the band released Black Is the New Black in 2015, I gave it a shot, but it fell by the wayside just like most of my Everclear listening career. Despite my inconsistent listening habits, I was really interested to see what Everclear, a veteran rock quartet, would do on the So Much For the Afterglow Tour.

I had already gotten a serious dose of nostalgia from the openers, Vertical Horizon ("Everything You Want," "Best I Ever Had,"). But, when Everclear came onstage I had a surreal moment, specifically remembering one of the first times I really heard "Father of Mine" in my dad's truck. And, of course, I had also forgotten my childhood crush on lead singer Art Alexakis, but that's an entirely different subject.

Everclear's tour marked the 20 year anniversary of their 1997 album So Much For the Afterglow (Duh, right?), but instead of playing the whole album straight through, the members made some improvisation room for the Grammy-award nominated album. Although bassist Freddy Herrera did point out "side one" and "side two" of the set. That's right. You heard me. Everclear hearkened back to a time of tape cassettes and an acceptable amount of radio angst. 

Although the the set didn't hold many surprises, Alexakis did take time to personalize the show for the Cleveland audience. The singer would quip anecdotes in between songs like "One Hit Wonder," explaining the song wasn't originally on So Much For the Afterglow, but Alexakis added it as a "fuck you" to the critics. Alexakis also said that when Everclear began getting radio play for "Heroine Girl" only a few markets played the single, including Cleveland.
The crowd for the show was especially interesting. I know exactly nothing about Everclear fans, but I do know lower common denominator white people when I see them. You had all the tell-tale signs: sloppy crowd surfing, clapping out of rhythm, and an inexplicable amount of punches being thrown. Come on man, who gets into a fistfight at an Everclear show? That's like getting kicked out of the county fair. I know there's a lot of daddy issues in the room (we all love "Father of Mine" for a reason) but pull yourself together.

Once Everclear had basically played the entirety of So Much for the Afterglow the band did an extended encore of four songs that embodied the idea of "Holy shit I remember that song!" for me. Everclear mixed in some solid singles, but, then again, they've been at this for more than two decades so they probably know their market.

The show wrapped up with "Local God," "AM Radio" "Wonderful," and what is apparently everyone's sleeper favorite Everclear song, "Santa Monica." When the band was setting up earlier in the evening I spotted a banjo and was thrilled to see guitarist Dave French rock it out on the last couple songs of the evening.

‚ÄčThe banjo addition made me think that Everclear is great for the twang of country without the shame of actually listening to songs about tractors and white privlege. However, the actual best part of the banjo bit was that Alexakis called the band 'Banjoclear,' which is officially my next ironic/esoteric stomach tattoo.

The entire Everclear set timed out at about 90 minutes, but I was solidly entertained for the entire time despite the random dudefights, shifting feet, and general adult fatigue. That may not sound like high praise, but I have a short attention span and have been known to space off during my favorite bands. 

Nostalgia appeal aside, Everclear is mostly inoffensive, but easy to listen to rock and roll. I went in expecting to be a little bored and in desperate need of a drink, but I left satisfied and totally sober. Now that is high praise.