Everclear / Fastball / The Nixons – Penn’s Peak – Jim Thorpe, PA – 7/14/22

2022 marks a big anniversary for Everclear, for they will be celebrating 30 years as a band. To celebrate they announced that their first album, World Of Noise, would be remastered, reissued with bonus tracks, and available on all streaming services for the first time. A vinyl version will be available later this year, but no date has been given as of yet. On top of that an United States tour was also announced with a stop in Jim Thorpe, PA. Even though this wasn’t the yearly Summerland Tour that Everclear is known for, it still featured other 90’s throwback bands on the bill. The two bands to celebrate this monumental achivement with Everclear were Fastball and The Nixons.

The Nixons opened the show and for most 90’s music fans they will remember their big songs “Wire” and “Sister” from their album Foma. If the song titles don’t ring a bell the music would along with their iconic album cover. The Nixons quielty disbanded in 2000 and it wasn’t until around 2017 that they reformed and started putting out music again. As an opener on this tour and being away for more than 17 years, The Nixons definately showed the crowd they are back and better than ever. With a stage presence from Zac Maloy jumping around, engaging with the fans, and performing on his back, The Nixons gave it their all even with two members being fill ins. Drummer John Humphrey was on tour with Seether to which his son was the drummer for this tour and guitarist Jesse Davis had a family matter to attend to and their guitar tech Alex Schneider was filling in. Towards the end of their set, they played their great cover of Elton John’s “Rocketman” which is featured on their Scrapbook EP, except this version featured Zac adding in the lyrics to “Times Like These” by Foo Fighters. There is definitely new life in The Nixons and with a new EP out I’d expect more to come.

Continuing the fun atmosphere on stage, Fastball came on next. Clearly they were enjoying having fun on stage with incorporating guitar solos and other band songs into their songs. Fastball is another 90’s band that received enormous praise for their album All The Pain That Money Can Buy and it is no surprise that their setlist featured more songs from that album than others. However, Fastball played something from almost every album including two from their latest album The Deep End. Fastball barely stopped playing since their formation and one thing should be mentioned that this trio are exceptional musicians, so much so that no one should just write them off as another 90’s band. The guitar work during the show is something I wasn’t expecting, and drummer Joey Shuffield is a solid drum player and shouldn’t be over looked. They closed their set with a cover of ZZ Top’s “Thunderbird” and it was clear even towards the end of their set they were enjoying having fun and playing music still. It’s refreshing to see when musicians are enjoying their time on stage and so far this show had plenty of that.

Growing up in the 90’s there are songs that you couldn’t escape, let it be on T.V., grocery stores, rolling skating rinks, no matter where you go you heard the songs everywhere. Even today some of those songs have lasted into the 2000’s and one of those songs is “Santa Monica”. I grew up in the 90’s and of course my first exposure to Everclear was the song, “Santa Monica”, which made me a lifelong fan. However, my go to albums by Everclear would eventually be So Much for the Afterglow, Songs from an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile, and Songs from an American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time for a Bad Attitude. The rest of their discography is worth exploring also Slow Motion Daydream, Welcome To The Drama Club, and Invisible Stars are great albums that deserve more credit. Welcome To The Drama Club was a great return album after members Greg Eklund and Craig Montoya left. Sadly for the Jim Thorpe show nothing was played from Slow Motion Daydream and after. The set was a great batch of songs played, especially for the casual Everclear fan, they played all the hits and some, but for someone like me I’d love to hear “A Beautiful Life” or “A Shameless Use of Charm” live. Point is, Everclear has a lot of great songs and their later albums have a lot of gems I think fans overlook. Regardless, besides all the hits, Everclear did pull out a deep cut/b-side, “Blondes”, which is featured on White Trash Hell and now World Of Noise deluxe edition. I wasn’t expecting to hear that song or any deep cut like that from any band, but Art Alexakis said it is a favorite of his and wanted to play it. For a song that is 30 years old, Everclear played it flawlessly. Art also pointed out that half of his life has been Everclear, turning 60 this year Everclear has been 30 of those years. It’s interesting to point out that Everclear formed when the members were in their wiser years and not a high school garage band. Usually bands with success like Everclear start in their teens, but the original members of Everclear got that out of their system in previous bands. For their encore, Everclear did play a song off The Vegas Years, Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” with Zac from The Nixons singing. A great cover and I will always associate it from always watching the movie Detroit Rock City. Ending the night was of course “Santa Monica”, and it still doesn’t get old hearing this song nor will it ever. Everclear still has it as a live band and I am glad they are still playing live. Celebrating 30 years as a band must be a joyous thing, and I’m glad Everclear is still here to share their music with us. Here is to the legacy of Everclear and all their continued success.

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