Live at Southcoast Winery
October 26, 2023 Review by Wendi Farnham
Long-time alt-rock favorites Everclear have been crossing the US on their fall tour and wrapped it up in California last week. With support from The Ataris and The Pink Spiders, Art Alexakis and company reminded us why we’ve loved them for decades.
The night began with a burst of energy as The Pink Spiders took the stage. Hailing from Nashville and boasting a two-decade history, the band’s unexpected addition was bass player JoCo, sporting a pink beanie and wielding a whistle on a string, infusing their music with a unique vibe.
The Pink Spiders wasted no time setting the party mood and delivered an exceptional performance.
Next on the lineup were The Ataris, who had the crowd revved up and ready to rock with their infectious indie punk sound.
With an evident, substantial following, the engaged audience remained on their feet throughout the performance.
Formed back in 1996, the band is best known for their outstanding rendition of Don Henley’s classic “The Boys of Summer,” which ignited excitement all around.
Their performance was fun and engaging, making them an absolute must-see act.
Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for – Everclear. Everclear’s roots trace back to the early ‘90s in Portland, Oregon, where they pioneered alternative rock during the genre’s heyday, led by Art Alexakis, the singer and songwriter.
Joined by longtime bassist Freddy Herrera, guitarist Davey French, and drummer Brian Nolan, the band’s cohesion was awe-inspiring, operating like a tight-knit team of seasoned artists and delivering a performance of professional excellence.
When they stormed onto the stage, the audience erupted with uncontainable excitement, and at Alexakis’ prompting, most people made their way to the stage, creating an impromptu GA section, with everyone standing throughout the entire show. The band opened with “So Much for the Afterglow” and “Everything to Everyone,” two popular hits from their 1997 album. These songs were excellent warm-ups for the crowd, and the band then moved into a fan favorite with an incredible version of “Heroin Girl,” and their major hit “Father of Mine,” which had the crowd singing along to every single word.
A new song, “Sing Away,” was also performed, and it sounded smooth, likely becoming a new favorite. “Sing Away” was one of two studio tracks on the 39th anniversary live album recorded last December at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood.
A highlight of the night was a dual guitar jam that started with Alexakis on acoustic guitar and French on electric. Alexakis gave way to French for a short, but sweet, guitar solo that left the crowd with a sense of nostalgia, leading up to “I Will Buy You a New Life.”
As Alexakis stated, “It’s a song about love, not money.”
The audience’s excitement and vocal participation reached new levels when Everclear unleashed “Santa Monica,” and this wasn’t even the closing song yet. It sent the crowd into a frenzy and resulted in the loudest sing-along of the night.
Clearly, it was the song everyone had been waiting for. For good measure they added another regular song that oddly wasn’t on the printed setlist for tonight, as Alexakis announced, “We have time for one more,” diving right into “Molly’s Lips” to conclude the evening.
It’s truly remarkable to witness an iconic ‘90s alternative rock band still commanding the stage with such a devoted fanbase, with Alexakis – who is now 61, and living with MS – performing at the top of their game and still sounding great. The music was impeccably executed, sounding just as it did “back in the day.”
The show, set in the intimate outdoor venue of South Coast Winery in Temecula, was nothing short of spectacular.
Everclear delivered an enjoyable and electrifying performance, serving as a testament to the enduring power of great music even decades after the genre’s heyday. Overall, it was an impressive and enjoyable show, and all three bands delivered outstanding performances.
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
by Steve Allen Photography
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SID 231029 | TRACI TURNER, EDITOR