Review by Stacey Lovett / Photography by Stan Martin
Buck’s Backyard in Buda, Texas rounded out the trilogy of Texas dates for the Summerland Tour 2018’s opening weekend. For the 6th incarnation of this 90’s nostalgia fest, Everclear – the tour’s creator – brought along Local H and Marcy Playground to reminisce the last decade of the millennium through rock.
Local H kicked off the night with solid energy cutting through a humid evening to a crowd eager for a 90s revival. The duo opened with “Freshly Fucked” off of 2015’s Hey, Killer, filling the open-air stage with a power and presence they held until the end. With their recent vinyl re-release of their second full-length, and most notorious, album, 1996’s As Good As Dead, they wove all four singles off of that through their setlist. Mid-set they paused to acknowledge drummer Ryan Harding’s birthday with a crowd sing-along of the celebratory tune before rocking it out even more. They closed out their set with the song that brought them notoriety – “Bound for the Floor” – throwing in a Chicago excerpt before wrapping it up with one last Dead single.
LOCAL H PHOTO GALLERY
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As dusk fell, Marcy Playground took the stage to play to a sea of Gen-X’ers. Summerland veterans, Playground opened with “Poppies” off their self-titled 1997 album, kicking off the traversing through two decades of their music but with a little less trip than before. Their set was a more of an upbeat pop-rock journey reintroducing us to their figures of yesteryear – Sherry Frazier, Aunt Mary, Saint Joe – what had long become distant memories but reunited once again. Screens shot up in the air when lead singer, John Wozniak, asked the audience if they felt like “Sex & Candy” – recording a favorite as a chorus of voice flooded the stage for this 90s anthem. They rounded out their set under the starry Texas sky with “Star Baby” covering an array of alt-rock goodness of everyone’s youth.
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Everclear took the stage as the headlining finale and kicking it off with “Strawberry,” giving attention to a few other tunes off of Sparkle and Fade through the night as well. “Everything to Everyone” really ignited the crowd as Art Alexakis and crew played off that energy, jumping in the air and across the stage with their guitars as the crowd jumped up and down with them. Like every band that evening, they brought a little less angst and a little more upbeat sound than 20 years ago, almost as a cover of that time yet sparing no passion or quality of the tunes – the vibe of a true reunion. They turned out a little old school for their fans with a bulk of songs from So Much for the Afterglow comprising the last half of their set, but not before throwing in some of their new material. Davy French turned out his signature driving guitar for “The Man who Broke His Own Heart” off their latest record, proving their sound withstands the years. “Wonderful” was dedicated to anyone who has kids, Alexakis deeming it the best and worst thing in the world before spouting off a quote from Disney’s The Little Mermaid – a nuance that those fans would pick up on. Their signature sound of somber positivity still shines through as they delved into a catalog of emotions and songs, the latter, Art said, would be switched up throughout the tour always providing something fresh with each new city. Everclear gave the Austin-area crowd a handful of radio favorites to enjoy as they finished out their set – introducing a ‘song about love, not money’, and bringing out the flying v for ‘a happy sounding song about parental abandonment.’ After introducing the band and thanking the lineup, Art Alexakis joked about hating the idea of encores because everyone knows they’re going to play “the” song, and of course, squeezed in “Santa Monica” right before the noise ordinance kicked in. Everclear brought more than the west coast to the hill country – they brought a reunion – and perhaps revival -of a decade of alternative glory, and a perfect kickoff to summer.