Concert Review: Not a Wonderful Opening Night for Everclear as So Much for the Afterglow 20th Anniversary Tour Starts in Portland

Ever clear?

More like mostly muddy.

Everclear (the band) started off their So Much for the Afterglow: 20th Anniversary Tour celebrating their multi-platinum record from 1997 at the Crystal Ballroom on Thursday in Portland and, um, so much for that.

You know that sound of a raging party when you’re in a nearby adjacent room? The booming bass, an occasional melody filters through, the vocals barely discernible but a boisterous crowd living it up. That was the entire evening! Unfortunately that’s also what it sounded like inside the raging party.

No doubt the fans were ready to party like it was 1997 but Everclear must have brought in their 20 year old sound system, as well. Too bad. Hopefully that was the problem and a fix exists otherwise they’ve got some work cut out for them.

So much potential fun was lost in a largely incomprehensible show featuring totally washed out guitars and vocals often smothered by the bass guitar and drums. Technical glitches throughout the evening only added to this frustrating amateur hour from a veteran band with a solid resume of material whose professionalism should have dug deeper than the dapper tuxedos sported on stage.

Everclear started the evening with the album’s title track and followed in order the track listing through “One Hit Wonder” before playing “Heroin Girl” off 1995’s Sparkle And Fade. Band founder, singer and guitarist Art Alexakis encountered his first guitar issue (or perhaps first time addressing it) after “Normal Like You” and the band briefly left the stage after “One Hit Wonder” as tech hands attended to whatever problem kept cropping up.

More glitches ensued after a horrible “Amphetamine” and following “Sunflowers” Alexakis said “First show of the tour and something’s got to f*** up.” I guess. How about getting it right from the beginning, though? This wasn’t a free show. It’s unfortunate because “White Men in Black Suits” wasn’t even close to the charming version on the album. Guitarist Davey French looked like he was ripping a solo on “Father of Mine” but just a few notes came through the overwhelmed speakers.

Not all was lost though. Oh, who am I kidding? It was pretty rough and outright brutal at times. OK, in a bit of irony the instrumental “El Distorto De Melodica” provided the best shot at redemption. No vocals at least and somehow the guitars worked their way through the blaring bass mess. It wasn’t bad, but far from crisp, and not to last. As Everclear setup for the next song the reverb sounded like they had light sabers on stage. Cool effects but not what we came to hear. Their smash hits “Wonderful” and “Santa Monica” closed the evening, offering a glimpse of what could have been, but by then it was enough already.

A rough 90 minute start to the tour, to say the least. The signature tone that is Everclear was thoroughly lost and once it became apparent things were off-kilter for the duration, it was an exercise in futility. Certainly this was not the Everclear on-hand for their induction into the 2012 Oregon Music Hall of Fame when their performance totally salvaged a ho-hum ceremony.

Everclear played 18 songs and was supposed to play So Much For The Afterglow in its entirety but after announcing “California King” would be the final song played off the album, where was “Hating You for Christmas,” the final track off the album? Maybe they just forgot to play it. Or perhaps they did play it. Was it the mostly unintelligible eighth song played that night? That makes no sense considering the album was played front to back.

Actually, not much made sense on Thursday. Even supporting act Vertical Horizon struggled through sound issues and mechanical flaws, at one point in their hour long set the band left the stage for about 10 minutes after the vocal mics went out.

Nada Melodica, Solamente El Distorto.

Everclear Portland (Crystal Ballroom) Setlist:

1.       So Much for the Afterglow
2.       Everything to Everyone
3.       Normal Like You
4.       I Will Buy You a New Life
5.       Father of Mine
6.       One Hit Wonder
7.       Heroin Girl
8.       ?
9.       The Man Who Broke His Own Heart
10.   El Distorto De Melodica
11.   Amphetamine
12.   Whie Men in Black Suits
13.   Sunflowers
14.   Why I Donn’t Believe in God
15.   California King
16.   Local God
17.   Wonderful
18.   Santa Monica

Written By: AndrewT

Everclear Brings Life to Oregon Music Hall of Fame Ceremony

The 6th annual Oregon Music Hall of Fameinduction ceremony was held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Aladdin Theater in Portland in front of a sold-out crowd honoring the best and brightest the state has contributed to the music industry.

Perennial favorites Everclear headlined the show with a five-song set and the crowd pleasing U-Krew, an old-school hip-hop group that reformed for the first time in 20 years also performed a few hits from their only album released in 1989. The Hudson Brothers and KGON DJ Iris Harrison were also among the inductees.

Tony Starlight hosted the show and started the evening with a hilarious farce of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” by lamenting about getting older, but the rest of the night slowed to a crawl. Ten inductions were made which, of course, included at-times long-winded introduction speeches. Starlight said he’d keep speeches to two minutes and would tap dance behind speakers to alert them of the time. Like his shtick, he was not serious.

The evening clearly belonged to industry insiders as even big music fans may never have heard of most of the inductees. Only in its 6th year the OMHOF induction ceremony came across more like a small-town production instead of a big scale State of Oregon Hall of Fame celebration. However, none of that takes away from the OMHOF’s primary purpose which is to benefit music education for public schools. Since 2007, more than $40,000 has been raised for music education and that amount rose dramatically last night thanks to a live auction featuring 15 guitars signed by various artists including ZZ Top and Melissa Etheridge.

Most in attendance were there to see Everclear but had to wait three and half hours before one of Portland’s biggest contributions to the modern rock era of the 1990s emerged. The band’s line-up has changed over the years but front man and founder Art Alexakis continues with his brand of rock and was on tour this summer and released the strong new studio album “Invisible Stars” earlier this year.

Alexakis who no longer lives in Oregon said Everclear will always be a Portland band.  He was joined on stage by previous members of the band before plugging in the amps and blistering through “I will Buy You a New life,” “Father of Mine,” “Heroin Girl,” “Wonderful,” and “Santa Monica.” Everclear made an encore of sorts and returned to the stage along with other Hall of Fame inductees who all played “Louie Louie.”

OMHOF also announced their Artist of the Year for 2011 – The Decemberists – who also took home 2011 Album of the Year honors with “The King is Dead.” To be inducted into the OMHOF, nominees must have been born in Oregon, or lived or operated in Oregon sometime in their lifetime and generally been in the music industry for a minimum of 20 years.

Oregon Music Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees:

The Hudson Brothers
Patrick Lamb
Chris Miller
Calvin Walker
Danny Schauffler
Tom Robinson and Mark Sten
Iris Harrison

Written By: AndrewT