It seemed like a strange choice – a chart topping U.S. rock band like Everclear whose music still gets radio play Australia, a band who had hit after hit in their heyday, playing at a venue like The Croxton Bandroom. But somehow in the aftermath you realise that it was pretty much a stroke genius. The smaller, sold-out venue and a band that were there for their Australian fans made this feel like we had travelled back in a time-machine and were watching a young and fresh Everclear on their break out tour – like what you could imagine it would have been like for the band in the early 1990s band in Portland.
Sure Everclear would have sounded amazing in a stadium show but there was something about the vibe in the room last night that made this gig special for the Everclear fans that decided to fill The Croxton and sing along to every track the band performed – even the lesser known ones. Like a few of the tours that have passed through Melbourne this year Everclear were here to celebrate the anniversary of one of their most successful albums – the twentieth anniversary of So Much For The Afterglow. Now this is a formula that certainly worked earlier in the year for Spiderbait but as we saw with Grinspoon sometimes an audience can get a little lost when the band starts pulling out hidden album tracks twenty years after their release.
That didn’t happen with Everclear though here the crowd were there with the band with every single song. The band did split up how they did the night. They started with six tracks of the famous So Much For The Afterglow and it didn’t take the crowd long to start joining on tracks like ‘So Much For The Afterglow’ and ‘Everything To Everyone.’ By the time they reached ‘I Will Buy You A New Life’ the crowd’s vocals were louder on the chorus than what Art Alexakis’ were. Then came the great live version of ‘Father Of Mine’ who even had people in the crowd who probably came from happy families joining in on lines like ‘my father gave me my name then walked away.’
After those first six tracks Everclear deviated away from So Much For The Afterglow and brought us a brilliant rendition of ‘Heroin Girl’ and ‘Heartspark Dollarsign.’ Again the crowd went nuts and the band fed off it, seemingly becoming more comfortable to do fantastic guitar solos as the night went on. By the time they got to instrumental track ‘El Disorto de Melodica’ they were ready to launch themselves into a flurry that showed just how good the band was and the audience absolutely lapped it up. That energy amongst the crowd remained as the band went into some of their slower tracks – tracks like ‘Sunflowers’ and even when the banjo came out in ‘White Men In Black Suits’ the crowd was still there in the palm of the Everclear hand.
With So Much For The Afterglow out of the way the band then launched into an amazing encore that included the acoustic ‘Strawberry’ an amazing rendition of ‘Local God’ of the Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack and crowd faves ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Santa Monica’ before closing with ‘AM Radio’ which allowed the band to really rock and even indulge in a guitar off.
The intimate setting of The Croxton Bandroom really gave the audience a unique view of a band that most of us had only ever seen in big shows. The great night showed two things – Everclear love Australia and Australia loves Everclear.
Photography by Matt Holiday