Art Alexakis had no problem lighting up the crowd at Everclear's latest college tour spot on October 5th at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. Ah, but it was a rough night for the larynx, and during the high-energy performance, he couldn’t seem to make his vocals work. And he tried too. On more than one occasion, Art missed a note badly, his entire upper range apparently gone. Craig Montoya, bassist and erstwhile vocalist couldn’t sing either. Or maybe his mike just wasn’t turned up. Honestly, it was hard to tell.
That said, the 1000-plus fans in the auditorium didn’t seem to care all that much. Between crowd-surfing and a not-quite-friendly mosh pit, the mostly college-age group was out to enjoy the night. And you have to hand it to Everclear and Art Alexakis, they do put on a good show--with or without voices. Between clapping and jumping and inspiring the lyrically savvy crowd to sing along in an acoustically unfriendly setting, Art worked it.
Geared to support Art’s usual unique vocal stylings – Everclear's easily understood lyrics, clear vocals, and a satirical beat constantly mimic their hit, “Father of Mine”. One left with the strong impression that the set and the music were just background for Art – the music didn't stand up by itself.
Alexakis did go off on an acoustic tangent a number of times. During these songs, his guitar playing was often difficult to follow. The experimental sound may have been the result of the song not translating well to acoustic from electric guitar. This was especially apparent in “New York Times,” a track from the not yet released Slow Motion Daydream.
Art treated the crowd to most all of his Top-40 hits, including, “Wonderful,” and “Santa Monica” wrapped up the 59-minute set. A 4-song encore ended with “Rock Star”. Art’s souped-up version of the "Speed Racer" theme song and ”Volvo-Driving Soccer Mom”, the first (soon) to be released single from Slow Motion Daydream, seemed fitting generational end caps for the evening. Careful to dispel rumors that he was mellowing out, Art assured the crowd, “Everclear is not becoming a pop band”. I hope they never do. Not sure they could pull the vocals off, either.