Thank you, Everclear, for 30 years of glorious music

The line wrapped around the building despite the cold winter weather creeping onto Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Eager fans chatted while huddled together, reminiscing over the last time they saw Everclear perform and holding up the toy they brought with them as Everclear partnered with Border Kindness, a 501c3 nonprofit humanitarian-aid organization, for a toy drive, encouraging those in attendance to donate to those in need. 30 years of music, tours, and philanthropy provided an endless amount of conversational topics. 

On December 1st, the intimate yet world-famous venue, the Whisky a Go Go, was sold out thanks to Everclear. “This is the only venue in LA they’ve never played!” asserted former MTV VJ Matt Pinfield as he introduced the band. He also told the audience that they would all be part of the 30th anniversary live album, as there were cameras and microphones filming and recording the excitement.

Band member, Art Alexakis, formed the leading alt-rock band in 1992 along with bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund (both of whom left in 2003). From 2003 through 2015, Everclear held an inconsistent lineup. A revolving door of musicians who joined then left and sometimes even rejoined the band spanned the majority of Everclear’s career. However, this didn’t influence the fanfare by any means. Over the last 30 years, the group has 11 studio releases including four that have been certified gold or platinum selling over 6 million records and achieving 12 Top 40 Hit Singles on mainstream radio. 

Everclear took the stage following the opener, Sponge, and launched straight into “So Much for the Afterglow,” the title track of the band’s 1997 album, followed by “Everything to Everyone” from the same record. 

“Heroin Girl” and “Heartspark Dollarsign” from 1995’s Sparkle and Fade were performed next, followed by the hit single, “Father of Mine” from Afterglow. The band’s setlist for this year’s tour ran the gamut of Everclear’s career including songs from their out-of-print full-length 1993 debut album, World Of Noise, which was made available this past summer for the first time ever on all digital music streaming platforms via a remastered reissue, as well as their brand-new single “Year of the Tiger” marking the first new song from Everclear since 2015.

As mentioned, Alexakis is the sole original member of Everclear, but the other members— Brian Nolan (drums), Davey French (guitar) and Freddy Herrera (bass)— performed as though they’ve played these songs alongside Alexakis for the last 30 years. 

They were personable and cheerful in between-song chatter with Alexakis joking about the inclusion of their singles in multiple blockbuster hit movies, mentioning his blessings regarding being able to play music, and feeling grateful that he has love in his life and in his band. Alexakis became candid with fans discussing his sobriety and his recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He then dedicated “Strawberry” from the 1995 album, Sparkle and Fade to his “sober brothers”. Especially well-received was the ’90s monster hit “I Will Buy You a New Life,” from Afterglow, on which attendees loudly sang every word. 

The band closed with “Santa Monica” and a cover of the Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips” (which ’90s kids will remember was also covered by Nirvana on Insecticide).

Everclear is taking the tour overseas for the first leg of 2023. If you can’t wait for the return to the U.S., keep your eye out for the live album set to be released sometime next year. If you listen closely, you’ll likely hear me singing my heart out.

Photos by: Jenna Shaw

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