If it seems like the 20 years flew by since Everclear released its breakthrough project “Sparkle And Fade,” it’s probably because the Portland-bred band maintained a relatively reliable recording and touring streak in the interim years. Even so, it’s been a bit since the rockers swung by Chicago proper, which coupled with the anniversary of this platinum-plus project, made for a pretty sweet alternative score for the City Winery on Wednesday night (not once, but twice).
From there, the guys dove into the evening’s primary purpose, evoking the era when Everclear ruled the airwaves alongside Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer and Green Day, though even with their age, tracks like “Heroin Girl,” “Heartspark Dollarsign” and “Queen Of The Air” continued to pack a satisfying post-grunge/power pop wallop.
For the second of two essentially sold out shows, Art Alexakis and company didn’t take the stage until nearly the next morning, but came ready to rock their way through a remembrance of the ‘90s and beyond. Ironically, the set didn’t open with anything from “Sparkle And Fade,” but rather, the strutting, melodic gem “I Will Buy You A New Life” from the just as famous follow-up “So Much For The Afterglow.”
From there, the guys dove into the evening’s primary purpose, evoking the era when Everclear ruled the airwaves alongside Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer and Green Day, though even with their age, tracks like “Heroin Girl,” “Heartspark Dollarsign” and “Queen Of The Air” continued to pack a satisfying post-grunge/power pop wallop. Perhaps the greatest example of the album’s endurance was “Santa Monica,” which was teased with just a guitar introduction during its original running order, but later landed in its rightful place as the set’s closer.
Though Alexakis’ vocals sounded a bit raw by then, he and the four other players managed to add an electricity jolt to fellow encores “Father Of Mine” and “Everything To Everyone” (a late exclusive that begs to become a permanent set list addition). And even if the group never matches the commercial apex of the main event or any of its immediate predecessors in the studio again, Everclear vividly displayed enough hits and history to stay in demand at the ticket window.
Upcoming concert highlights at City Winery include Paula Cole (Nov. 14); Matthew Perryman Jones & Leigh Nash (Nov. 16); Macy Gray (Nov. 18-19); Ari Hest (Nov. 20); Musiq Soulchild (Nov. 24-25); Joseph Arthur and Chuck Prophet (Nov. 27); Eric Burdon & The Animals (Nov. 29); Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses (Nov. 30); The English Beat (Dec. 1-2); JD Souther (Dec. 7); Marc Broussard (Dec. 8); Rhett Miller (Dec. 10); Los Lobos (Dec. 13-16); Tab Benoit (Dec. 19); Shemekia Copeland (Dec. 20); Michael McDermott (Dec. 21-23); Poi Dog Pondering (Dec. 26-29) and Robert Randolph & the Family Band (Dec. 31). For additional details, visit www.citywinery.com/chicago/.