Never a bad night when you can sit under the stars and hear the hits from some of the mid-90s biggest alternative radio rock bands. Art Alexakis of Everclear continued what he started last year, switched up the lineup, and brought the Summerland Tour to the LC on June 21.
The concept is pretty simple – invite bands who dominated MTV and the radio in the mid-90s to come play the songs that people in their 30s and 40s were exposed to before we all had iPods (and Spotify and Pandora and …). All killer, no filler could be the theme of the night as the four bands on this year’s lineup (Sponge, Filter, Live and Everclear) played short sets packed with sing-a-long songs.
And, just like the ’80s hair metal bands still out touring, none of the four bands boasted original lineups although three of the four featured original lead singers (Sponge, Filter, Everclear). Wandering around the packed (but not as packed as last year) LC, I heard quite a few conversations that went something like this: “What? Live has a different singer? If I had known that, I’m not sure I would have come. What happened to Ed I-Can’t-Pronounce-His-Last-Name?”
Live, featuring former Unified Theory singer Chris Shinn, wound up stealing the show. Sure, it would have been great to hear Ed Kowalczyk singing hits like “White, Discussion”, “Operation Spirit” and “Lakini’s Juice”, but Shinn made the crowd just about forget Kowalczyk as he delivered the songs as if they were his own.
Sponge – best known for “Plowed” and “Molly (Sixteen Candles)” – got the evening started and while they never were a HUGE band (their biggest headlining shows were on a package bill with Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Letters to Cleo and Fig Dish), singer Vinnie Dombroski’s kept a level head throughout the years and Scott Weiland would be wise to take a lesson or two from the Detroit frontman. The band’s got a new CD coming out soon (which they were selling at the merch booth) but, let’s face it, the crowd just wanted to hear the two songs that still get radioplay, this many years later, “Plowed” and “Molly (Sixteen Candles)”. Dombroski made his way out into the crowd during the set, breaking down the artist/fan barrier which the next act, Filter, would do as well.
It doesn’t feel right watching Rich Patrick’s Filter perform on an outdoor stage before the sun has set but that’s exactly what happened and the band made the most of it. Opening with “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do”, Filter barely had time to warm up before their short 6-song set came to a close. The requisite hits (“Take a Picture”, “Hey Man, Nice Shot”) were played as was the band’s cover of The Turtles “Happy Together” which is prominently featured in The Great Gatsby movie trailer and the killer new track “We Hate it When You Get What You Want”. Filter just released The Sun Comes Out Tonight and hopefully they’ll come back to town as a proper headliner and play for 2 hours some night later this year at The Newport.
Unfortunately, a previous commitment kept me from watching Everclear’s set though ColumbusUnderground reports that while a lot of the crowd “went home” before Everclear came on, “Those that did stick around got to hear Alexakis’ voice back in fine form.”
At a reasonable price ($15 lawn, $30 pit), Summerland proved, once again, to be a successful jaunt down memory lane for Generation X. And, of course, it’s led me and many others to start thinking about what a 2014 lineup might look like (I’d put The Toadies, Local H, and Veruca Salt on the bill).