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Concert Review: Everclear & MoTel Aviv (Austin, 7/2)

July 6, 2010

This past Friday, the popular ’90s band Everclear played at the Marchesa Theatre.  I wrote in my preview (if you missed it, read it here) that back in the day I was a huge Everclear fan, which means that I jumped at the opportunity to hear some nostalgic songs live for the first time.  But honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the band.  After all, Art Alexakis is the only remaining original member, and sometimes, that equals doom for veteran bands trying to make their comeback.

Not so for Everclear.  I was impressed for several reasons.  First of all, I was really surprised…like no, really surprised…to come back after the supporting band to find Art posing for pictures in the hall before their set.  I’m a big fan of bands who understand and appreciate fandom, so this immediately won points with me.  But, hey, it’s not all about the gestures – there’s also tunes to deal with.

We had been told that we could only take photos during the first three songs of Everclear’s show, so I guessed that we were going to hear some hits right off the bat.  Sure enough, when the band took the stage, they played “Father of Mine,” “So Much for the Afterglow,” and “Heartspark Dollarsign” right away.  In the beginning, there were a few issues with sound (mainly Art’s mic not being loud enough) that put a gap between the band and the audience.  Finally, after about four songs, the sound problem was fixed, and the show really picked up.

Read the rest of my review, see more pictures, plus, my review of MoTeL Aviv after the jump!

The second major surprise was how awesome of a band Art has put together.  The new band consists of Dave French on guitar, Freddy Herrera on bass, Sasha Smith on keyboards, and Jordan Plosky on drums, and quite simply, they are all excellent musicians.  They really gel as a band and Art is very generous with the stage/glory moments.  Dave and Freddy particularly have major rock star stage presence and interaction with the crowd, and the audience cheered them on as much at Art.

Another pleasant surprise for me was that there was plenty of stage banter.  Despite the small size of the crowd, it was filled with extremely devoted fans and the band really played it up.  There were hilarious and fun moments like the band bringing up audience members to sing (including a suburban-looking dude that did a pretty good Robert Plant impression), and Art teasing the crowd with covers of other songs, only to proclaim that he wasn’t there to play other bands’ music.

They stuck to performing Everclear songs, the majority of which came from Sparkle and Fade and So Much for the Afterglow.  It’s easy to forget how many good songs Everclear churned out on just those two albums, and looking back on the landscape of pop in the ’90s, they really made quite a contribution.  Among other tracks, the band played “Heroin Girl,” “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore,”  “Normal Like You,”  “Strawberry,” and of course, “Santa Monica,” with an encore of “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Everything to Everyone.”  The crowd loved it and most people sang along to pretty much every song.

All in all, Everclear put on a great show and I’m happy that I got to see them.  And after the show, Art was going to meet with more fans in the lobby of The Marchesa.  I love to see a humble and down-to-earth musician, and that’s definitely a gesture that goes above and beyond.  I wish the band the best of luck with their new tour and album.

Before Everclear, we also got a chance to see local band MoTeL Aviv.  They’re a relatively new act consisting of vocalist Rodney Connell, guitarist Cole Hanson, badass bassist Misti Watkins and drummer Jayson Altman.  Drawing heavily from the British post-punk pop experience of The Smiths and The Clash, they cranked out one bright and poppy rock-infused tune after another.  MoTeL Aviv is extremely confident and polished compared to a lot of local bands, allowing the tinkling, strummy guitars and heavy beats to shine.  They have a sexy stage appeal and danceable, well-written songs that follow impressively in well-established musical traditions.  Really, they’re one of the best local bands I’ve seen.  During their very short set, they won over the crowd completely and had people talking about them after the fact.  Go see them when you get the chance.

Lastly, a few words about The Marchesa itself.  It is a lovely venue that is extremely well-run.  The prices at the bar were comparable to any other venue in town, but the bar itself is pretty classy.  Because it’s Austin, you can go dressed up or dressed down and fit in either way.  The stage is raised, so it’s easy to see from any angle in the mid-size hall, and it’s very clean.  Personally, I’m a big fan of The Marchesa and I hope they continue to court shows and breathe life back into Central Austin.  Um, FREE and ample parking people.  What other reason do you need to make the trip out of downtown?

Were you at the show?  What did you think?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!  And check out more Everclear and MoTeL Aviv photos on Flickr or on my Facebook Fan page.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. seanningham permalink*
    July 6, 2010 5:16 pm

    Everclear put on a show that made me forget there was a mostly empty room behind me. With some good reviews like this and some positive experiences, I’m sure they’ll re-court their old fans and make some new ones with their upcoming album.

  2. Naomi permalink
    July 6, 2010 6:01 pm

    *runs to go listen to some Everclear in my massive iTunes song list* I actually want to see them live now because of your review. It’s crazy to see how different Art is from the “Father of Mine” video. I totally remember jammin’ out to Sparkle and Fade in middle school. Ya shush I’m that old. 😉

  3. July 10, 2010 9:27 pm

    “Art Alexakis is one of the best songwriters to ever live.”

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