The first leg of the 2021 Summerland Tour wrapped up in Tennessee Saturday night, and all four bands gave it their all despite weather challenges.
Everclear’s Summerland Tour brings together multiple bands with a different line up each year and this year’s team of Hoobastank, Living Colour, and Wheatus has been on the road for a month. After more than a year of not playing on stages, the bands – and the fans – have waited eagerly for these shows.
Outdoor shows in the south are a tricky thing. When Wheatus opened the show, it was 95 degrees with the sun and humidity. By the time Everclear’s set arrived, the venue was under severe weather alert and the audience had to head for shelter while lightning flashed. Still, all four bands gave energetic performances that made the long wait for live shows worth it.
The hot weather made the crowd sluggish, but Wheatus did not let it affect them. Brendan B. Brown and crew showed the audience what Art Alexakis meant when he called them “weird, wild, wonderful Wheatus.” They opened the show with a massive blast of bass that you could feel in your chest courtesy of summer-sounding “Mope.” Their seven-song set included one of my favorite new songs, the energetic track “Hey, Mr. Brown,” and a song about cheating that sounds too fun to be sad, “Lemonade.”
The relaxed set included banter between the members and brought a laid-back party vibe. Friends hanging out and playing music with all of us included. Of course, they closed their set with their massive hit “Teenage Dirtbag,” which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. The crowd sang along and enjoyed Brown’s theatrical finish to the song, including his falsetto performance of the “girl” vocals.
In addition to Brown, Wheatus is Matthew Milligan (bass), Joey Slater (backing vocals), Gabrielle Sterbenz (backing vocalist), Leo Freire (drums), Madden Klass (drums), and Brandon Ticer (keyboards).
While the sun was still up, Living Colour hit the stage and front-man Corey Glover summed it up well; it was as hot as “Satan’s taint.” Luckily for all involved, the sun set as they played and made the crowd more active participants.
Defined by Alexakis as legends, Living Colour has as much energy as a new band starting out. With his yellow tracksuit and red-orange dreads, Glover commanded attention, but he would have had he been in jeans and a tee. The dude can sing. Backed by the excellent musical skills of the band, they proved they can rock hard after decades together. They gave a blistering performance of “Desperate People,” did “Middle Man” at the request of Alexakis, and showcased Glover’s vocal abilities on “Open Letter (to a Landlord).”
Anyone in the crowd still sitting jumped to their feet when the intro to “Cult of Personality” began. Sounding as amazing as it did in 1988, the “metal-funk” pioneers proved they are worthy of their legendary status.
Living Colour is Corey Glover (vocals), Vernon Reid (guitar), Doug Wimbish (bass), and Will Calhoun (drums).
The band that got to enjoy the best of the crowd was Hoobastank. Declaring what we were all feeling, front-man Doug Robb toasted fans with, “It is good to be playing live music once again!” Hoobastank opened with “Pieces” and Robb was disappointed with the distance of the crowd to the stage, so he invited everyone to the front. The audience enthusiastically obliged and enjoyed a fabulous rock set that was filled with hits, and when Robb commanded the crowd to jump during “Same Direction,” they obeyed.
After giving a heartfelt thank you to the crews that put these events together, “The Reason” brought out the lighters and cell phones as everyone’s voices could be heard in unison. It may be the 20th anniversary of their debut album, but all the songs felt fresh, and Hoobastank’s energy kept fans on their feet. Alexakis felt what we did when he declared Hoobastank “rock so hard!”
Along with Robb, Hoobastank is Dan Estrin (guitar), Chris Hesse (drums), and Jesse Charland (bass, keyboards).
Unfortunately, a massive storm appeared on the radar, which cut Hoobastank’s set short and delayed Everclear. The crowd was asked to shelter in their cars or the hosting brew house, but after a small lightning storm, Everclear took the stage to close the night out. Kicking it off with “Summerland,” the band sounded as strong as ever and Alexakis declared, “It is good to hear the sound of drums again! It is good to hear rock and roll again!”
Continuing the trend of positive comments about the other bands, Alexakis – who selects the bands for the tour – could not say enough good things about the other bands and all the crews. The band tried to bust through the songs quickly though because another storm was rolling in. The audience was on their feet and singing the whole set which included “Everything to Everyone,” “Father of Mine” (which audience participation!), “Wonderful,” and “I Will Buy You a New Life.” Alexakis spoke of getting “older” and “sicker,” but said it brought him much gratitude and made him grateful for family.
Just as Everclear was about to play their last song, “Santa Monica,” a crew member crossed the stage to shut it down. The storm was arriving, so there was no chance to give a proper goodbye, and Alexakis said he could not remember a show where they did not get to play “Santa Monica.”
(To be fair to the crew involved, the skies did open up and let out a horrific storm that made the OC Music News crew thankful to make it safely home.)
Everclear is rounded out by Dave French (guitar), Freddy Herrera (bass), and Brian Nolan (drums).
Although this leg of the tour is done, there are more shows on the way, which will include more dates closer to the West Coast. Keep your eye on those dates and definitely get tickets to see these four amazing bands on one stage. While each is fantastic on their own, seeing their camaraderie and support of each other was touching and showed why Summerland is a summer must do.