Concert Review

LIVE, FILTER, EVERCLEAR, & SPONGE Make Summerland Tour a Killer Kickoff at Stage AE

Wednesday evening, June 19  at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE, the Summerland Tour rolled in with four stalwarts of the alternative music scene that once ruled the land of rock n roll.  Some people may have forgotten that these guys were even out there, but most of them are still making music and last night they all proved that they still have the goods to put on one hell of a show.


Detroit’s Sponge started the night off with an energetic set including hits such as “Plowed”, “Molly”, and “Have You Seen Mary”.  The band also played some new material, that can be purchased at Sponge shows, from 2013’2 Stop the Bleeding.  Lead singer Vinnie Dombroski climbed on top of the crowd to belt out the latter part of “Plowed” (‘say a prayer for me…’) and set off the ‘good time feel’ of the concert.


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Filter began with material that Richard Patrick and new guitarist Jonathan Radke put together for just released effort  The Sun Comes Out Tonight including  “What Do You Say” and “We Hate It When You Get What You Want”.  But of course the crowd could not wait for Filter’s two biggest hits, “Take A Picture” and “Hey Man Nice Shot”.  The band certainly gave the crowd their money’s worth when Patrick unexpectedly went into the deep end of the crowd to sing ‘Nice Shot’ only to be hoisted aloft and then race down to the front to jump and hop with the elated spectators as the band wailed in wild abandon.

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By far the most unexpected highlight of the night, LIVE was downright inspirational.  When Ed  Kowalczyk left the band and was replaced by Unified Theory’s Chris Shinn, most fans were skeptical that it would work.  That thought could certainly be put to rest by even the harshest of critics, namely this writer.  Shinn was absolutely stunning and has obviously breathed fresh life into the band who had a flawless set of hit, after hit, after hit such as “All Over You”, “Lakini’s Juice”, “The Dolphins Cry”, “Lighting Crashes”, “I Alone”, “Operation Spirit”, and “White, Discussion”.  It made one remember how much amazing music LIVE put out in their heyday.  It will be interesting to see if legal ramifications can be seen past and new music could be put together with this crew.

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As host of the evening’s events, Art Alexakis pulled double duty, and came out swinging for his band’s set.  By the third song, “Father of Mine”, the band was really hitting their stride.  With hits like “Heroin Girl”, “I Will Buy You A New Life”, “Wonderful”, and of course “Santa Monica”, Everclear proved why their material is so important to the alternative lexicon.  With such a successful outing in 2012 and now in 2013 it looks for sure that we can count on more to come for a Summerland Tour in 2014.

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