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EVERCLEAR

 Art Alexakis, Everclear - Pic: Cole Maguire
Art Alexakis, Everclear – Pic: Cole Maguire

Pat Chow, Tired Lion

Rosemount Hotel
Thursday May 14, 2015

They may have a new record out in Black Is The New Black, but tonight was all about Everclear playing their second album, Sparkle And Fade, from start to finish to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Following strong supports slots from local faves, Pat Chow and Tired Lion, the stage was set for Everclear‘s celebration. From the start the crowd lapped up every song, especially the big alternative chart singles Heroin Girl, You Make Me Feel Like A Whore and the classic, Santa Monica.

Playing three of their biggest songs in the first four is a great way to get the crowd on-side, but by Alexakis’ own admission the second half of the album is less played by the band, and some lesser attentions waned a little.

Alexakis lets the crowd shout Strawberry’s payoff line, “yes I guess I fucked up again”: it’s an extremely human moment. We’ve all fucked up in different ways – it is, like many of Alexakis’ lyrics, completely relatable. The magic in his lyrics was that although he was telling tales mired in junkie hell and overdose damage, he always looked for the positives, always strove to find a way out.

Heartspark Dollarsign, Her Brand New Skin and Chemical Smile keep the vibe up and the audience pogoing and screaming along, and My Sexual Life closes this much-loved album out on a high note.

A short break followed, before Everclear were back to play a few favourites from Fade’s follow-up, So Much For The Afterglow. The title track, Father Of Mine and Wonderful are especially well-received, with plenty more crowd interaction, pogoing and singalongs, and new track The Man Who Broke His Own Heart holds its own against the classics.

There’s another break, then a final encore of their contribution to Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet soundtrack, Local God‘if I don’t play this song I’ll probably get my ass kicked’, Alexakis laughs, and a big finish with I Will Buy You A New Life.

The one thing missing though, was Alexakis’ vocal strength. On the last tour his voice struggled by the time the tour wound up in Perth, and this time ’round was the same. The pressure of seven gigs in eight days seems too much when coupled with plane trips and jetlag.

Alexakis seems to agree, suggesting they’d come back for the 20th anniversary of Afterglow, but possibly ‘starting the tour in Perth, so my voice won’t be so worn out by the time we get here’. Let’s hope that’s the case, as if these songs prove such great entertainment with his vocals sub-par, imagine if he was at full power.

SHANE PINNEGAR

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