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
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.
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.