Do you remember the ’90s? It was a time when guitar fronted rock-pop dominated the airwaves, every song was an instant classic and everyday felt like it was part of an endless summer where the sun never set. OK, so perhaps that’s not completely true, but you may be forgiven for thinking so if you attended Tuesday nights Summerland tour at the LC that featured five of the era’s biggest bands in an evening of back to back sing-a-long hits and wonderful nostalgia.
After a brief introduction from tour visionaries, Mark McGrath and Art Alexakis, Marcy Playground opened the evenings music. Singer/guitarist John Wozniak may look a little rounded and rugged than what he did in the bands hay day but he’s lost none of his vocal abilities. Backed by bassist Dylan Keefe and drummer Shlomi Lavie the band breezed through a set of heartfelt stripped down guitar-pop, climaxing with crowd favourite “Sex and Candy”.
Potential show stealer Lit were next up. The alcohol fueled California five piece wasted no time in claiming the LC’s outdoor stage as their own. Playing a riotous set of infection tunes while throwing out rock star poses at every given opportunity the band looked like they were ready to live the 90′s all over again.
To call the Gin Blossoms performance anything less than brilliant would be criminal. Mark McGrath’s introduction joke about trying to spot the Gin Blossoms’ non-hit songs was spot on. The band played a set of classic melancholy laced anthems that the crowd were happy to lap up. Singer Robin Wilson spent most of the set stood along the crowd barrier, feeding off the affection of his adoring fans.
Mark McGrath could easily be used as a modern day poster boy for the ’90s. Unapologetically flaunting his frat boy-turned-punk styling of spiked blond hair and pimp white suit he paced back and forth along the stage belting out the hits his band had 15 years ago. The band looked happy; the crowd looked happy, it’s hard to argue against the obvious joy the band are having being back in front of a large crowd.
Unfortunately, Everclear turned out to be the disappointment of the night. Singer/guitarist Art Alexakis’ voice sounded hoarse and he seemed unable to fully commit to the songs . A sore throat is forgivable, however, musically he and his band also sounded off and unpolished and that’s something you’d never expect from the pioneer of this tour.
That said, the band ended the set triumphantly by bringing out various members from the night’s other band to join in an all-star play and sing-a-long to probably the bands biggest hit, “Santa Monica”. For Everclear it was a much needed save for a lacking set while also turning into the perfect ending for the show.
It’s fair to say that this tour has already been a success for all those involved. The bands (mostly) look in great shape and happy to be back in a concert scene no one expected them to be involved with. To say these bands are no longer relevant today wouldn’t be unfair, but the crowd didn’t seem to care, nor did the bands, they just want to play music and have fun, and isn’t that what being in a band is all about?