The Odeon Theatre, Hobart TAS
2nd February, 2020
Supports: The Tinderboxes and Art School Bullies
It is becoming a more and more frequent occurrence that Tasmania is starting to get some great international acts heading to our little island. As usual we seem to get these shows as School night gigs; but that’s not a bad thing as a rule we still tend to support them strongly. Tonight was no exception. The 800 plus crowd were there for one reason and that reason was Everclear who are in Australia as a part of the Hotter than Hell Tour. It’s hard to believe we last saw Everclear here in Hobart twenty two years ago. The question on my mind was how would they hold up after all this time?
First up tonight were local band The Tinderboxes. Now I have seen these guys before and I think I left with pretty much the same feeling; I was underwhelmed. This four-piece band that play indie rock. The brand of indie rock I heard left me feeling empty and uninspired. Unfortunately, they just aren’t my cup of tea. There was no personality within the band and watching a cardboard box collapse in the rain would have been more exciting. After all this was a punk rock show and if anything they began to drain some of the enthusiasm that had entered the building with me. While The Tinderboxes have gained some high profile support slots over the last twelve months, but this was one they shouldn’t have been selected for as they just didn’t fit. The crowd seemed unsure of what they were seeing and hearing as well. Family and friends of the band up the front and the rest of the punters stayed in the back creating something of a ten-meter invisible barrier between the very front and themselves.
Next up were Art School Bullies. Now, this is a band that I have heard some really good things about, but had never seen until tonight. How were they? They were great!!! Art School Bullies have something about them and even as I am writing this, I still can’t put my finger on what it is. Could it be the smooth and classy easy listening rock-inspired bass lines and grooves that sit perfectly on top of solid drumming, or was it the melodic riffs that sat ever so sweetly above, or was it the dynamic and unique vocals that capped it all off. I’m not sure as each of those elements at one stage or another drew me in. Tonight Art School Bullies delivered an extremely well-executed set that was fun, energetic, engaging and set things up for the band up next Everclear. The only downfall to their set was the awkward between-song banter and storytelling, which could have been due to nerves as The Odeon had begun to fill quickly during their set. I recommend you see these guys live as they were impressive and certainly won the swelling crowd over.
The venue darkened and the house music silenced and Everclear took to the stage around 10pm. Aside from some minor early technical issues such as monitor levels, Everclear delivered a sublime greatest hits set focusing on the years 1993-2000. The first four-song onslaught starting with ‘So Much For The Afterglow’ and ending with ‘Heartspark Dollarsign’ made you remember just how many incredible songs this band has. It wasn’t until ‘Wonderful’ that Art Alexakis opens up and starts to share his memories and inspirations behind the songs. ‘Wonderful’ is one of those songs where Art hoped and prayed that no one would ever have to hear these kinds of words from children. This then leads into ‘Songs From An American Movie’ which was dedicated to his daughter.
A brief break from things occurred as Art announced that Damien has something to ask Tash. Yes, this was a marriage proposal in the middle of an Everclear concert. Tash said yes and all ended well. Just as the light of the proposal had shone moments before the darkness of ‘Strawberry’ a tale of shooting heroin while driving across America grabbed you. This stripped-back tale was haunting and provoking and so much more when delivered acoustically.
‘Strawberry’ concluded the acoustic portion of the show leaving Art to ask the crowd ‘Are we done with the Kumbaya bullshit? Do you wanna hear a rock song?’ the crowd roared back confirming that they did indeed. Dave French proceeded to play a very Ace Frehley circa 1977 inspired guitar solo which segwayed into the opening riff of Led Zeppelins ‘Whole Lotta Love’, but that was unfortunately short lived, but what we did get was a blistering version of ‘AM Radio’ and the song that started my love of this band ‘Local God’ which still today remains one of my favourite Everclear songs. Art Alexakis proceeded to tell the crowd that even though it was twenty-two years ago since they first/last played Hobart; our modest city still remained one of his fondest memories of touring Australia period. ‘I Will Buy You A New Life’ closed out tonight’s set. But with undoubtedly their biggest hit remaining unplayed there had to be an encore, and sure enough, we were in for a treat.
Returning to the stage Everclear pulled no punches finishing tonight off with a killer triple play of ‘Summerland’, a surprise cover of Nirvana’s ‘Molly’s Lips’ (sung by Freddy Herrera) which kicked ass. But it was the classic ‘Santa Monica’ that got the biggest reaction. The crowd sung, jumped and embraced this song as if it was everyone’s personal anthem. Everclear 2020 consists of Art Alexakis (Vocals, guitars), Freddy Herrera (Bass, Vocals), Dave French (Guitars, Vocals) and Brian Nolan (Drums). They are a tight, well oiled machine who delivers Art’s music to perfection. Every song or story from Art is a documentation of his life’s triumphs and tragedies; it leaves you with a defined image of what his life has endured. Art Alexakis is a storyteller of the highest calibre.
Despite a few minor technical difficulties Everclear delivered one hell of a rock show. Chatter amongst the crowd after the house lights came up was reflective of this. Many of tonight’s audience were too young to attend Everclear the first time around in Hobart, but they sure as hell made up for it tonight.
The band took time out after the show to hang with the fans and sign anything they wanted. All telling tales of what this band meant to them during those teenage years of discovering themselves. Everclear were the soundtrack to so many of tonight’s teenage years. The band was humbled and grateful for the stories being shared.
For me I got to catch up with Art after the crowds had subsided, he talked about his thirst for Tasmanian history and arts. The guys were in Hobart taking in as much as they can during their downtime. Visits to MONA and Port Arthur were to be ticked off the bucket list.
Hurry back guys, because tonight was a treat !!!
So Much For The Afterglow
Everything To Everyone
Father Of Mine
Fire Maple Song
White Men In Black Suits
Songs From An American Movie
I Will Buy You A New House
Molly’s Lips (Nirvana Cover)
Revisit our interview with Everclear‘s Art Alexakis right here
Art School Bullies
Hotter Than Hell 2020
Saturday 8th February – York on Lilydale, Mt Evelyn VIC
Saturday 15th February – Kirwan Tavern, Townsville QLD
Saturday 22nd February – Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough WA
Everclear – Australia Tour 2020
THUR 06 FEB | Croxton Bandroom | THORNBURY, VIC | TICKETS
FRI 07 FEB | Pier Bandroom | FRANKSTON, VIC | TICKETS
SUN 09 FEB | The Basement | CANBERRA, ACT | TICKETS
WED 12 FEB | The Helm | MOOLOOLABA, QLD | TICKETS
THUR 13 FEB | Parkwood Tavern | GOLD COAST, QLD | TICKETS
FRI 14 FEB | Racehorse Hotel | IPSWICH, QLD | TICKETS
THU 20 FEB | Freo Social | FREMANTLE, WA | TICKETS
FRI 21 FEB | The Carine Glades Tavern | DUNCRAIG, WA | TICKETS