Everclear @ Menominee Nation Arena
As is the yearly tradition, Everclear and the Summerland tour made their way across the country. This time it stopped in Oshkosh, WI. Oshkosh is placed between Green Bay and Milwaukee. Giving folks who couldn’t make it to a show just out of their way a chance to catch a little closer to home. As I walked through the main gate of the arena, the tour had its merch as you walked in. The t-shirts were reasonably priced. Naturally, I snagged a classic-looking Everclear tee. From there you walk forward into the small arena on the right or left-hand side and the stage is right there beside you. I was allowed to set my backpack full of camera gear down in front of the stage. While doing so, I managed to talk to a stagehand and he mentioned how fun the tour has been and how great the bands have played on the first leg. Knowing this gave me a few goosebumps. The anticipation began to build from there.
This tours bill was absolutely stacked with amazingly fun and gifted artists that had huge hits over the last 30 years. Of course, the headliner, Everclear, produced the most hits and provides a consistently attended tour spanning over 10 plus years now. Every person I managed to talk to was extremely excited to relive some of their youth through the music. A lot of people, myself included said their music takes them back to awkward adolescence and young adulthood. I, for one, am glad I wasn’t the only person feeling that way. That is when you know an artist has created something that will last for a few generations. Expectations of everyone’s favorite songs being performed were high. Realistically, most of them were played and some others weren’t. It was perfectly fine with me since they played tunes I have never heard them play live before. Hidden gems if you will. This is a big reason I love artists like Everclear. The setlist for the most part though encompassed their two highest-selling albums, “Sparkle and Fade” and “So Much For The Afterglow”.
The band currently consists of founder and primary songwriter, Art Alexakis, bassist Freddie Herrera formerly of The Exies, guitarist Dave French and American Hi-Fi drummer Brian Nolan. I had the luxury of moving around the arena and watching from all different spots. They were extremely cohesive and in tune with each other. The amount of movement on stage while playing surprised me a bit. Herrera was especially fun to watch. The guy was into it. Headbanging, hair flips, spins, and smiles. He had it all working. During breaks and tunings, they chatted with the audience that was right up next to the barricades’ pre-pandemic style. Art and Freddie were especially talkative with patrons. At one point a fan screamed a random song towards the stage and Art quipped that he, “doesn’t sing songs about ex-wives anymore”. Art, not only brought the jokes along, he spoke freely to the patrons about songs and the intent behind them. He even mentioned that drummer Brian Nolan was from Madison, WI. Being a Madison resident I loved it. At another point, it was mentioned that he wrote “Father of Mine” as a song to his daughter. A ton of awes came from the mostly adult crowd. The audience participation was off the charts for this song. It resonated throughout the small arena. I was one of those participating. Without a doubt knowing the intent of the song made it mean that much more to those of us singing along to it.
The show in itself was a clinic on the mature 90s rock that has aged immensely well. Well, maybe maturity with little no crap given rock edge and a bit of punk-like flair if I am being honest here. There was no better demonstration of that than moving from Everything to Everyone’s heart-filled lyrically content of trying to realize someone can be better than they are and do not have to live within someone else’s expectations to Heroin Girl and the gut-punch of addiction, loss, and the throw-away culture of peoples lives. All of this was emphasized through the individual performances. The look of genuine pain on Art’s face during Heroin Girl and Strawberry proves these songs still mean the World to him. This always will be the reason I prefer to see these tracks performed in person. Yeah, sure, you can feel it on the album over and over, but that isn’t the human element of the music. Everclear, are savvy industry veterans. They give you everything they have. The music still speaks to people young and old. The true indication of a band that has staying power. Do not miss out on these guys. I know I won’t and I will forever be a fan. Thank you for the fantastic evening, Everclear and Big Picture Media.
1. So Much For The Afterglow
2. Everything to Everyone
3. Heroin Girl
5. Father of Mine
6. The Man Who Broke His Own Heart
7. Like A California King
9. The Twistinside
11. I Will Buy You a New Life
13. Santa Monica
14. Molly’s Lips (Nirvana Cover)