30th Anniversary Tour
at Skydeck in Nashville, Tennessee
July 8, 2022 Show Review by Traci Turner
As a preview to next month’s Flannel Nation, OC Music News caught Everclear on their 30th Anniversary Tour in Nashville, and we can confidently say you won’t want to miss them! With Everclear tearing up the stage playing hits and early tracks, plus Fastball showing us “The Way” and new tunes, it is a guaranteed good time. But if you can’t make it to CA, you can still partake in the fun with Everclear’s anniversary tour which runs to September.
An unfortunate reality of a summer Nashville show is the oppressive heat and humidity, plus this week was the hottest on record in decades. While the outdoor venue has a gorgeous view of Broadway (where tourists go bar hopping to hear the talent of Music City), I felt so bad for all of the bands, but not one of them complained or appeared to be suffering in the heat. Even with that obstacle, all three put on fantastic performances.
The Nixons came out blasting right off the bat with “Head” and followed it up with a song from their new EP of the same name, “Kaleidoscope.” I was pretty darn impressed with the song, plus the band itself sounds amazing.
During “Baton Rouge,” front-man Zac Maloy jumped around seemingly unaware of the temperature. He said while the band is from Oklahoma, he lives in Nashville now, so I’m guessing he is used to the heat that this California girl struggles with.
Just like SoCal, Nashville is home to many talented musicians and in addition to Lit’s Ajay Popoff catching the show, several guests hopped onstage for assists. Guitarist Nick Wheeler from The All-American Rejects jumped up to play “Wire” and seemed like he belonged in the band. I also laid eyes on Scott Stevens from The Exies, which isn’t out of left field since he has a songwriting and production company with Maloy.
The Nixons finally broke out the first song I ever heard of theirs, from way back in 1995 at SXSW in Austin. “Sister” remains on my favorites playlist and Maloy’s voice transported me back, sounding as strong as ever. A cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” followed and while I’ve heard many bands take it on, I don’t think I have heard a cool rock version before, and it was done well by The Nixons.
In addition to Maloy, The Nixons includes founders Jesse Davis on guitar and Ricky Brooks on bass, plus Seether drummer John Humphrey. Each of them impressed me and I was so glad to see them live once again.
Fastball took to the stage after a “Low Rider” intro by War and honestly, looked like they were having a blast the entire time. The band just celebrated the 26th anniversary of their debut album, plus remains intact with their original line up of Miles Zuniga (vocals, guitar), Tony Scalzo (vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar), and Joey Shuffield (drums). They have been busy releasing new material on their Patreon and dropped a full album last month titled “The Deep End.” When I told Scalzo two of the tracks from it, “Chump Change” and “Electric Cool-Aide,” put me in a good mood, he said, “Well, I wrote them to be fun!” Kicking off with “Fire Escape,” the crowd was also excited from the get go.
After crowd favorite “You’re an Ocean,” they shared one of their new tracks. Saying it is about a class reunion, Scalzo and Zuniga said they would need the crowd’s help and taught them the chorus. The story in the lyrics brought a chuckle to the crowd, so make sure to give it a listen.
New song “Soundtrack” was followed by “Love Comes in Waves,” which had fans clapping along as soon as the intro began. The song even got a mash up with some “Space Cowboy” from Steve Miller Band mixed in. Another surprise guest came up for “Out of My Head” when Greg Camp (one of the founding members of Smash Mouth) took on bass duties.
As soon as the familiar intro of “The Way” began, the crowd went crazy, pulling out phones to video, and singing the chorus loudly, at one point taking over singing duties from the band completely. They closed it out with a cover of ZZ Top’s “Thunderbird.” Fastball genuinely appeared to having fun up there, which made the crowd enjoy it even more.
Last year, Everclear front-man Art Alexakis gave me a new life motto: “If it is not fun, I don’t want to do it.” Judging by this performance, this tour fits into the fun category. The camaraderie between the three bands was evident and they each thanked the others repeatedly.
When Everclear began their set, that fun was also visible. Digging back into the vaults, they began with “Electra Made Me Blind,” which the full house of fans seemed to dig. Alexakis asked, “Any old school Everclear fans here? I’m talking 1995 ‘Sparkle and Fade’ fans?” With a resounding yes in reply, Everclear played another track from the album, “Heroin Girl.”
Alexakis interacted with the crowd frequently, as did bassist Freddy Herrera. With Davey French on guitar and Brian Nolan on drums, Everclear sounded excellent; even better than at Summerland last year (no disrespect to that performance of course!).
After fan favorites “Everything to Everyone” and “Father of Mine,” they played what Alexakis said is one of his favorite songs, “Nervous and Weird.” As they are celebrating their 30th anniversary and the just released a remastered version of their debut album, “World of Noise,” it was nice to have them play rarities and hits.
In addition to the “oldies,” they even went off script and played requests including “Loser Makes Good.” Alexakis said he used to dedicate it to politicians or people he did not like, but after being sober for 33 years and growing up, he realizes we all have troubles in our lives, so he now dedicates it to himself.
Additional played requests included “Amphetamine” (“an old school punk song!”), and “Blondes” (a rarity from before “World of Noise”), and Alexakis realized the setlist was not quite current. “Man, we missed a bunch of fucking songs!” he laughed. “That’s what happens when the 60-year-old guy with MS leads the show.”
It was time for a popular hit and “I Will Buy You a New Life” had the crowd screaming for “a welfare Christmas” and “buy you a garden.” Once again asking if anyone had requests, a voice shouted out “One Hit Wonder!” Alexakis yelled back, “One hit wonder?! Fuck you!” jokingly of course since most fans know “One Hit Wonder” is an actual Everclear song title. But he said he would play “a song that is very important” to him and they went into “Wonderful.”
With “AM Radio” and a cover of “The Boys Are Back in Town” from Thin Lizzy, Alexakis addressed the crowd again, thanking fans, the other bands, and after one last request for a Journey song, he said, “I can’t sing like Journey, but I can sing like the guy from Everclear,” they closed the show out with “Santa Monica.”
Everclear’s 30th Anniversary Tour with Fastball and The Nixons continues across the country this summer. Also make sure to pick up the previously out of print “World of Noise,” available for the first time digitally and with a vinyl version to follow.
In addition, you can catch Everclear and Fastball at Flannel Nation next month along with Sugar Ray, Soul Asylum, Filter, Sponge, Cracker, and Candlebox. Flannel Nation will be held at the Port of Los Angeles and tickets are on sale now.
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
by Stephanie Pepper Photography
FOR MORE INFORMATION