Last night, West Coast alternative rock band Everclear brought old and new songs to life in front of a roomful of fans as they kicked off their 20th Anniversary Sparkle And Fade album tour at the Times Square music venue / restaurant B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.
If you were a teenager growing up in the '90s, you couldn't avoid hearing of Everclear. It's highly likely that you heard popular songs like "Santa Monica" played either on the FM radio or at a house party. Having been one of those teenagers who grew up in the heyday of the band's popularity, I was curious to see what the demographic of the crowd would be. To my surprise, it was a good mix of older fans like myself and newer fans who looked like they might have been born in the same year that their major label debut was released, in 1995.
Beginning with "I Will Buy You A New Life" from Everclear's 1997 album, So Much for the Afterglow, they kicked into side one Sparkle and Fade.
The band, featuring Art Alexakis (lead vocals / guitar), Davey French (guitar / vocals), Freddy Herrera (bass / vocals), Josh Crawley (keyboards / vocals), and Sean Winchester (drums / percussion / vocals), delivered a fiery set of heavy rock and grunge that felt like we had been time-warped back to 1995.
When the band finished up playing side one of the album, they treated the fans to two new songs, "American Monster" and "The Man Who Broke His Own Heart," both from their 2015 album, Black is the New Black. While not as many people were familiar with the band's new tunes as they were with the older ones, they were still enthusiastic.
Before Everclear got started with the second side of Sparkle And Fade, a fan in the crowd yelled out a comment about moshing, which got frontman Art Alexakis' attention. He jokingly commented, "Aren't we too old for that now?" Apparently some things have changed since '95, and when the band ripped into songs like "The Twistinside" and "Her Brand New Skin," the uptempo energy had fans shoulder to shoulder, swaying to the tunes non-violently.
In between songs, Alexakis commented that Sparkle and Fade was the album he wanted to make, but the people working at the band's record label (Capitol) at the time didn't think it was pop enough. Keep in mind that during 1995, some notable albums that came out were Throwing Copper from Live, Cracked Rear View from Hootie & the Blowfish, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from The Smashing Pumpkins, and Alice in Chains' self-titled album.
Everclear wrapped up performing the second side of the album, but the fans begged for more. The band took a moment to pause before treating us to back-to-back-to-back fan favorites, "Wonderful," "Father of Mine," and "Santa Monica."
Since time machines don't exist (except for in movies and books), we can't go back to relive special moments that shaped who we are now. What Everclear did for us on this night, though, is nearly as special. For a few hours, us older fans were transported back to our youth, celebrating the music that we grew up on. Times have changed, but some things never do.
The band will be touring North America in support of Sparkle and Fade until the end of November. Make sure to catch them when they come to your city!
For the latest music, news, and tour dates from Everclear, check out their Zumic artist page.