Monday, November 5, 2012

Everclear - Mississippi Moon Bar

When I was a mere lad, I was introduced to a concoction so horrific that it still haunts me to this day.  The concoction always seemed as if it were the work of some evil scientist, no, it was like a potion created by an alchemist in search of turning water into gold.  The sickening sweet flavor of this potion was trumped by the fact that drinking one or two would make you so wasted that you would forget your own name.  This potion was formulated by the melding a grape flavored (and colored) drink mix and...

Everclear.  Yes it was part of the potion that would sneak up on you and kick you so hard that having consumed the mixture would (after twenty years or so), cause you to still shiver at the thought of it.  The interesting thing wasn't that the Everclear would beat you senseless, the grape flavor would make you forget you were consuming large quantities.  I remember two things about the concoction:  1. Every girl seemed to love the bottled hell and 2. I consumed more than I care to remember. In an attempt to not violate any statute of limitations, I think I'll veer away from the past (and that my friends is a good and lucid idea) and as this is a music blog I think it behooves me to talk about the BAND named Everclear.

On the first day on November, in the year 2012 I made the trek to the Mississippi Moon Bar to see the bands NameSake, Eve 6 and Everclear.  When presented with the opportunity to see the bands I was a little apprehensive honestly.  First of all I had never heard of the opening band, NameSake, I really wasn't much into Eve 6 and I thought that Everclear had one song I knew.  When we arrived at the MMB, as an afterthought I took in a notepad and a couple of nearly dead pens because I thought there wouldn't be a reason to take notes.

Shortly after the doors opened, I encountered some friends and one of them told me he was really excited to see the show, he is a big fan of Everclear.  I expressed my views and mentioned that I was more interested in Eve 6 and he told me he was sorry (sorry because he told me that Everclear was better).  That really piqued my interest, I was starting to think there was more, much more, to this band. After the two bands made their presence known, Everclear took to the stage and the crowd exploded.  I was flabbergasted by the seemingly docile crowd and the way they welcomed the band told me that I was really missing something.

I have a cousin, Scott (heretofore to be known as Skeet), he's an esoteric sort of man.  Skeet is a writer and his choices in music and politics fascinate me.  Skeet is with the affliction known as "gray haired" (it must be a family affliction as I'm falling victim too), he is over six feet tall and lanky, so much to my surprise, the lead singer looks as if he is Skeet.

Art Alexakis, lead vocalist and founder of the band has this inane being that immediately screamed political activist and hard-edged punker.  A little research kind of proved to me that they would get along quite well.  Skeet and Alexakis divide from their commonalities when they reach music, more specifically vocally.  Alexakis revealed that he is fifty years old and as I listen to some Everclear music the one point that sticks out is how crisp his vocals are.  Sitting there I decided I had to think who he might remind me of but there were so many to choose from.  I heard this amalgam of characters in my thought process, including Peter Case (The Plimsouls), Ric Ocasek (The Cars), and Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes).  Confusingly I could add some other singers but that would befuddle me even more.  The fact of the matter is that Alexakis can still sing his hind quarters off.

Alexakis is not only a singer, he is the rhythm guitar for the band and he can play as well as anyone.  What more could you expect from him?  He is the founder, the lead vocalist, rhythm guitar and song writer, he is pretty much the breath and heartbeat of the band.  Looking into the distant future I wouldn't be surprised if Alexakis would become a one man band, playing all of the instruments he has strapped to his body and still sounding incredible.

He isn't a "one man band" however, he has surrounded himself with an assortment of great musicians.  Dave French, the Nikki Sixx looking lead guitar was fun to watch on stage and more importantly he was the consummate professional.  French engaged the crowd and recognized those in attendance.  At one point French broke the "rule" of every music store, he broke into a little Led Zeppelin and it sounded really good but alas, the Zeppelin stopped.  When French stopped, they broke into "Sweet Home Alabama" but Alexakis ended that venture quickly.  What it showed was French's versatility and his skill, great job!

Freddy Herrera, the bassist, provided a strong presence while kicking the bass to a level befitting any bass player.  Herrera was exceptionally sharp and had the energy that can kick the bass to a different level.  Incredible job!

John Crawley and Sean Winchester make up the final two pieces of the band, with Crawley on keyboards and Winchester on drums.  I'm never sure about keyboards generally speaking, at times they can be unnecessary or overbearing with respect to the music they are playing.  Crawley didn't have that problem, he was fun to watch, he was demonstrative whilst playing and he seemed to be having a blast.  Winchester has an unenviable position of being the lynch pin of the band.  It is his job to keep the beat and keep it strong, and he did just that.  Both of these gentlemen were exciting to watch and more importantly fun to watch.  Great job!

 The reflection of the past can be an unnerving animal, but at times the past can bring a smile to even the hardest curmudgeon so we, from time to time, can find that reflection in the strangest places.  On the 1st of November I had the pleasure to see a phenomenal band, Everclear and the past at the same time.  With Everclear I saw a band that I had never given a fair shake to and at the same time I was reminded of a vile concoction so the two events had the ability to make for a bad evening.  I resigned myself to repentance for not giving Everclear a fair shake.  At the same time I vilified myself because of that mixture of a grape drink and a clear alcoholic fluid.  I have rectified both.  I have become an Everclear fan and as for the consumption of the grape flavored evil, I have vowed to never again taste or consume it ever again.

The Mississippi Moon Bar outdid themselves once again!  Bravo and Thanks!

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