It was better than last time but not much. Actually, Die Hard 2 comes to mind.
How can the same glitch happen at the same venue to the same band twice?
For apparently no reason other than to get out and play, Everclear took the stage at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, the second of seven dates on their mini tour of the West Coast. No new music from the band since 2015, though singer and band founder Art Alexakis released a solo album two years ago.
Therefore, Everclear stuck to their hits drawing from their three biggest albums for much of the 20* song setlist, Sparkle and Fade, So Much for the Afterglow and Sounds from an American Movie Vol 1: Learning How to Smile. Alexakis, the sole band member from those days, keeps the music alive with guitarist Dave French who joined in 2003, Freddy Herrera on bass since 2009 and drummer Brian Nolan who joined in 2018.
All sounded OK to start as Everclear hit their gold mine of singles with “So Much for the Afterglow,” “Everything to Everyone,” “Heroin Girl” and “Father of Mine” before taking a trip down memory lane for their first album, 1993’s World of Noise which was recorded in a house basement in Southeast Portland for $400, Alexakis said, while introducing “Fire Maple Song” which they delivered better than the studio version.
Trouble began brewing on the sixth song (I have no idea what they played) as Alexakis vocals were nearly totally drowned out by the rest of the band as the thumping bass and guitars took prominence and “The Twistineside” which followed was mostly a mess. A stagehand tried troubleshooting the issues as Everclear jammed a bit to pass the time as the mic was replaced, which didn’t work when Alexakis tested, so either the original mic or a third went in to place offering no help in bringing the vocals up to a crisp level. Maybe adjust the volume of everyone else?
But Alexakis’ voice was muddied and hard to understand when he introduced songs or bantered with the audience, though some of that thanks to his natural vocal pitch. The show must go on but from this point it was mostly an exercise in futility with a hopeful expectation of hearing a semblance of melody which came in short bursts for “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Song From an American Movie” the short version off 2000’s Sounds from an American Movie Vol 1: Learning How to Smile. Volume 2, released a few months later contains a longer, edgier cut. As it turns out, those songs without the heavy instrumentation fared better than the hard rockers.
After “AM Radio” with barely discernible vocals, Alexakis yelled at the crowd to “make some noise.” They did, especially on “Wonderful” and “Santa Monica” which ended the evening after a four* song encore that included an unrecognizable Nirvana cover, but most of the noise came from the band. Because that’s what much of the evening sounded like.
Everclear Portland Setlist:
- So Much for the Afterglow
- Everything to Everyone
- Heroin Girl
- Father of Mine
- Fire Maple Song
- The Twistineside
- I Will Buy You a New Life
- Song from an American Movie short version
- AM Radio
- Local God
- No idea
- Nirvana cover
- I think another cover*
- Santa Monica
* Not 100% proof