Vertical Horizon
June 29, 2017
House of Blues, Anaheim


Everclear are currently on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary release of their third album So Much For The Afterglow. Released on October 7th, 1997 it quickly became the band’s best selling album moving two million units. It spawned the singles “Everything to Everyone”, “I Will Buy You a New Life”, and “Father of Mine”. This is the third to last stop of the tour, the last two being in Hawaii. I entered two different contests to win a pair of free tickets, but no luck in winning. Regardless, I ventured off to the venue to buy a ticket since I couldn’t miss this concert. Two years prior I obtained free tickets to see Everclear when they were playing Sparkle and Fade in it’s entirely. I drove all the way to Anaheim when my car decided to die out on me. In the end I didn’t make it to that concert which frustrated me to no end. I had to wait over a year but the wait was  worth it.

Arriving late to the venue I caught the end of Fastball’s performance. As I maneuvered my way though the crowded venue I spent of my time trying to find a spot while the band were playing. Due to that I only took two photos of the band which I’m not satisfied with, but they’ll have to do for the meantime. Fastball is an alternative rock band from Austin, Texas which formed in 1995. The band has been nominated for two Grammy awards and have released six studio albums. Not being familiar with the band I ended up recognizing one of their songs surprisingly. As Tony Scalzo – founding member and lead singer – sang the lyrics to “Out of My Head” I realized I knew those lyrics. It took me a minute to realize why I knew those lyrics when it hit me. The 2016 pop-rap song “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly and Camilla Cabello features the interpolation of this song. I never knew this, but after being exposed to “Out of My Head” I prefer it over “Bad Things”. The lyrics to the song are what I love about it. “Was I out of my head or was I out of my mind? How could I have ever been so blind? I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find.” Those are some of the best lyrics that I’ve heard recently. This band turned out to be better than I anticipated (this band knows how to give a fun performance).

The second band of the night were the alternative rockers Vertical Horizon. The band consists of Jeffrey Jarvis (bass), Ron LaVella (drums), Matt Scannell (lead vocals, lead guitar), and Donovan White (guitar). All the members, with the exception of LaVella wore black shirts as well as black pants. He in turn had a white shirt while sporting a black hat. Prior to this night I had never heard of this band but I became a fan of theirs before the end of the night. Scannell had a wicked sense of humor throughout the night that at least had me laughing here and there. Once they were into the groove Scannell remarked, “If you know the lyrics to the song we love you. If you don’t know the lyrics to the song we love you too.” One of their best performances of the night had to be “Best I Ever Had”. Before delving into the song Scannell reflected on how he had written a country hit, well not really. Country singer Gary Allen covered “Best I Ever Had” into a country tune which peaked at 51 on Billboard’s Hot 100 back in 2005. Just as with the previous band I recognized a song which surprised me. The track for this band that I know I heard before is “Everything You Want”. Don’t know where I heard the song, but I know it from from somewhere. Anyways, they could not have picked a better song to end their setlist that evening. The whole audience became nostalgic with those lyrics even began singing along. Heck, I even started to sing along to the chorus to this catchy song.

The moment of the night arrived as the band Everclear walked on stage. The band currently consists of Art Alexakis (lead vocals, guitar), Dave French (guitar), Freddy Herrera (bass), and Jake Margolis (drums). All four members wore black suits underneath white button shirts. As the night progressed they all took off their suit jackets due to the venue becoming warmer through the night. All of them appeared so professional, I’ve never seen a group dressed a like much less in suits. The band played the first song off the album, or as Herrera referred to it that night Side A and B, with “So Much For The Afterglow”. The song starts off like a Beach Boy track with soft harmonious vocals and then bam! It transitions quickly to a catchy alternative rock song with loud guitar and drum beats. The hits kept on coming as “Everything To Everyone” and “Normal Like You” were performed with entertaining ease. This is the band’s first performance at the new House of Blues location in Anaheim. Alexakis is no stranger to this county as he lived in Orange County for five years.

I deeply enjoyed the stories that Alexakis would mention from time to time in between songs. As a transition to “I Will Buy You A New Life” he spoke about how “you ain’t shit if you don’t have family.” This has to be the best Everclear song as well as one of their most emotional songs. I kept thinking throughout the song how I could relate to the lyrics and want to buy my partner a “new life.” The emotions continued with the next hit “Father of Mine”. I love that these two songs were put back to back on the album and that they performed them in that order. “Father of mine, Tell me where have you been, You know I just closed my eyes, My whole world disappeared.” This is Alexakis most autobiographical song he played that night. The sentimental meaning of the song came alive that night as Alexakis’ vocals breathed live into his creation. After “One Hit Wonder”, the band took a break from playing songs off So Much For The Afterglow. “Heroin Girl” and “Heartspark Dollarsign” were met by laud from the audience. I became filled wit joy that I could see them play “Heroin Girl” live since I missed my opportunity last time.

They returned to the album by performing “El Distorto de Melodica”. “Amphetamine”, “White Men in Black Suits”, and “Sunflowers” continued the entertaining trend of the band’s phenomenal performance. Around this time French took out a banjo to the amusement of the crowd. The banjo was part of the song, can’t recall which one, but it was a funny moment to see this instrument make an appearance. LaVella took a turn in being in the spotlight as he did an incredible drum solo. At the end of “Why I Don’t Believe In God”, Alexakis dedicated the song to the late singer Cornell remarking among the lines of, “We don’t know what was going through his mind or what he was going through. We shouldn’t be ones to judge him on what he did as well.” This is the second concert I attended in June where a song was dedicated to the late singer. I enjoy these touching tributes to the talented singer, one of my regrets still being that I never seen him in concert. Once “Like A California King” ended the band members headed off the stage. Not before mentioning to the audience that they’ll be back for an encore and signing things at the back of the venue.

Coming back on stage the members reminded the audience once again that they were signing merchandise and taking photos after their encore. I wish I knew this information before hand because I would have brought my albums with me. Next time I’ll make sure to bring them with me though. The encore consisted of “AM Radio”, “Wonderful”, and “Santa Monica”. By the end of the concert my feet were dying off on me causing me to find a place to sit down. Though tired at the end I forced myself to stay because of how much I wanted to see Santa Monica live. My love for this band has grown after this impeccable night, especially for lead singer Art Alexakis. He is a magnificent, mesmerizing lead singer whose talent is astounding in person. Next time though I’ll be sure to get one of their albums signed for my collection.

Everclear Setlist
1. So Much For The Afterglow
2. Everything To Everyone
3. Normal Like You
4. I Will Buy You A New Life
5. Father of Mine
6. One Hit Wonder
7. Heroin Girl
8. Heartspark Dollarsign
9. El Distorto de Melodica
10.  Amphetamine
11. White Men in Black Suits
12. Sunflowers
13. Why I Don’t Believe In God
14. Like a California King

15. AM Radio
16. Wonderful
17. Santa Monica

Vertical Horizon Setlist
1. Save Me From Myself
2. Instamatic
3. Send It Up
4. Forever
5. I’m Still Here
6. Written In Stars
7. I’m Gonna Save You
8. We Are
9. Lovestruck
10. Best I Ever Had
11. Lucky One
12. You’re A God
13. Everything You Want

Fastball Setlist
1. Tanzania
2. Fire Escape
3. ‘Til I Get It Right
4. I Will Never Let You Down
5. You’re an Ocean
6. Frenchy and the Punk
7. Love Comes in Waves
8. Rampart Street
9. Andrea
10. Sooner or Later
11. Out of My Head
12. The Way

Trivial Notes

  • 8th concert at the House of Blues, Anaheim at the Garden Walk.
  • 1st time seeing Everclear.
  • 1st time seeing Vertical Horizon.
  • 1st time seeing Fastball.
  • Fastball’s official Twitter account liked my post about the concert. They replied back saying, “Thank you!!”