Posted | 1 Comment
Review: Everclear rocks on at cancer benefit
REVIEW BY SJARIF GOLDSTEIN / firstname.lastname@example.org
There are few successful rockers who seem as authentic as Everclear frontman Art Alexakis.
Despite an appearance — tattoos, earrings, bleached hair — that screams rock ‘n’ roll cliché, he manages to come off as as grounded as your mailman.
Perhaps it’s the honesty with which he’s talked and sung about his life. Perhaps it’s the sense of humor he has displayed in the band’s videos.
Look for that authenticity and playfulness in the band’s live show and you’ll find it in spades.
In Saturday night’s show at Hawaiian Brian’s, Alexakis’ personality took a rockin’ set to the next level. It wasn’t just the way he coaxed the audience to interact, with sing-alongs on hits such as “Santa Monica” and “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” and pervasive hand-clapping. The small club setting allowed Alexakis, the only member of the five-piece who dates back to the band’s beginning, to connect with his ohana of about 200 people.
He glowed with pride when talking about his 20-year-old daughter at Oxford and lamented his 5-year-old being psyched to come to Hawaii to swim and then falling off a couch while horsing around and needing stitches above her eye.
Given the events in Connecticut a day earlier, it was not surprising that he also weaved in messages of loving your family now and making sure you always have family in your life.
Alexakis was downright funny at times, asking if there are any “old school Everclear fans out there” and then slyly adding, “we’ll see,” as he launched into “Heroin Girl,” one of the band’s earliest singles.
He also toyed with the audience, teasing them by breaking into the signature guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” midway through the 70-minute show, only to say he “won’t play that …” although he professed his need to “hear Led Zeppelin at least twice a day or I’ll lose my mind.”
But of course, all that personality is empty without the foundation of great songs — and Everclear’s got a strong base there.
The band owned the audience from the opening chord from “So Much for the Afterglow” and kept the momentum going with “Father of Mine.”
There was some slowing when they moved on to songs that the audience didn’t know word for word, but a “Heartspark Dollarsign” or an “Everything to Everyone” was always right around the corner.
Alexakis kept the good times rolling but also took time out to throw some attention in the direction of his bandmates, who took turns riffing on rock classics as he introduced them during the encore. He willingly ceded the spotlight repeatedly to guitarist Dave French for slice and dice solos.
He also reminded the audience why the band was back in Hawaii for a second straight year — the bill, dubbed the second annual “Rock Against Cancer,” was a benefit concert for Kapiolani Medical Center’s Campaign for Hawaii’s Children.
Alexakis dedicated “Santa Monica” to the the kids at Kapiolani’s cancer unit and closed the show with “I Will Buy You a New Life,” invoking the slayings in Newtown, Conn., once again and making sure the crowd knew it was “not a song about money.”
“This is a song about love,” he said.
With that, Alexakis rocked the crowd one more time and thanked everyone who made the benefit show happen, including the fans and the entire state, authentic to the very end.