Everclear Leader Can't Hide Behind "Wall Of "Noise

We promise, this is the last review we'll run of Alexakis' solo show. Seen here performing at The Fireside Bowl in Chicago last Wed. Photo by Matt Carmichael.

Art Alexakis, most known for his frontman role in Everclear, took

the small stage at the Side Door Club in St. Louis by himself last Friday

(April 4) night. The singer sat with his acoustic guitar in front of the small

crowd and proceeded to play a mixture of old and new material including hits

like "Heroin Girl" and "Santa Monica."

The show began with "Loser Makes

Good" from Everclear's first album World Of Noise. Alexakis voice rang

through the PA with remarkable intensity. He followed with songs from

Sparkle And Fade, including "Strawberry" and "The Twistinside."

"Normal Like You" was the first song Alexakis played from Everclear's

upcoming album, which he says is now titled So Much For The Afterglow.

The singer said the band had scrapped an entire album's worth of material

earlier in the year because it didn't meat the standards the band set for

itself.

Material from Sparkle And Fade and World Of Noise was

certainly interesting to hear, stripped down, in the environment of the small

club. But is was the emotional intensity that Alexakis brought to his new songs

that made this show special...



The obscure "Culver Palms" (which appeared on an album by

Alexakis' previous band, Colorfinger) and a brand new one, "I Will Buy You A

New Life" had deep personal sentiment and were performed at a slower tempo than

the other songs.

While most of those in the audience were into the show, a

few attempted to ruin it. One heckler drew Alexakis' attention with his

requests for "Summerland"; the singer abruptly stopped the boisterous fan. "If

you ask for it one more time I won't play it. Is that OK with everyone else?"

the singer asked.

The crowd cheered.

"Heroin Girl" was a treat to hear

in the setting. Without any feedback or distortion the song was bare and

exposed to the simple melody and rhythm along with the catchy lyrics which the

crowd helped out with. Despite a case of the flu Alexakis vocals were

impressive. However his ill health might have been the reason for the short

set--just under an hour in length.

Some requests for covers came in, but

Alexakis laughed them off. He even played the intro to "Sweet Home Alabama"

then stated: "I don't know the rest of that one."

Instead of the cover

Alexakis played "Sparkle" from World Of Noise. The older song sounded

better in its acoustic incarnation then on the original recording.

Along

with the Everclear originals, Alexakis covered one of his heroes, Neil Young.

"Harvest" is a straightforward song that fit in perfectly with the one man show

that Alexakis had mastered over the previous six dates on the relatively short

(13 shows) tour.

A solo acoustic tour is not something many front men have

taken on. "You can't hide behind the wall of noise," he said in an interview

before the show. "And you can't burn nervous energy by jumping around the

stage. You're just sitting there."

Alone, and seated, the singer closed the

evening with the hit "Santa Monica." The crowd helped on some of the lyrics

which Alexakis seemed to appreciate.

Afterwards, Alexakis greeted fans and

signed autographs on anything they could produce, from ticket stubs, to dollar

bills. Fans and Alexakis both showed tremendous smiles as the singer chatted

with anyone who engaged him.