Date: June 6, 2018
Opening Acts: Local H, Marcy Playground
All Photos Courtesy of Melissa Haslam
Hitting the road for the 6th year in a row, the Summerland Tour founded by Art Alexakis of Everclear and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, featured Local H, Marcy Playground and Everclear headlining.
Lying slightly north of Pittsburgh, Jergel’s Rhythm Grille was nestled away in a nice suburban area of Warrendale, PA and can only be described how my friend put it…as a rock and roll Applebee’s. It was definitely a different and more intimate feel than the larger outdoor crowd for the past Summerland Tours at Stage AE in downtown Pittsburgh. I was totally fine with this setup.
Starting off the night was the band that I was most excited to see in Local H. I’m a big fan of their first two albums and I had never seen them live in concert before. They sure as hell didn’t disappoint and the two-man band was the highlight of the night for me. They played a heavy dose of tracks from “As Good As Dead” mixed in with a couple of tracks from their other material.
What I’ve always liked about Local H is their heavy punk influence mixed in with 90s grunge. They played loud, hard and fast and the crowd responded to their effort with elation and energy that one would expect from a 90s rock concert. At one point Local H had the drummers from Everclear and Marcy Playground joins them on stage for a triple-threat drummer track. They also played their most popular mainstream hits in “Eddie Vedder” and “Bound For the Floor” but surprised me by playing some deeper tracks that I’ve always been fond of in “High-Fiving MF” and “Fritz’s Corner”.
Pulling middle duty was the band that everyone knows as the “Sex and Candy” band…Marcy Playground. Admittedly I haven’t listened to them in years and I wasn’t familiar with what to expect from their live show but I was pleasantly surprised with them. To me they sounded like a grunge version of They Might Be Giants as their songs were heavy on power pop but had a hard rock/grunge sound to them. They had a lot of catchy tunes that I wasn’t familiar with but they did start the show with a deep cut that I was familiar with called “Poppies”. And of course they ended the show with “Sex and Candy” to everyone’s delight. Overall, Marcy Playground had songs that were catchy as hell, translated well live and got the crowd in to the show and moving even though they may not have been familiar with the songs or band in general.
Headlining the Summerland Tour was none other than Everclear and their brand of grungy-pop punk. Excited as usual to see Everclear live they didn’t waste any time getting the party started as they kicked things off with “Rock Star” and “Heroin Girl”. That got the audience into it immediately and then they decided to go old school with “Your Genius Hands”, a song from their first album “World of Noise”. The middle of the set contained a heavy dose of tracks from “Sparkle and Fade” and “So Much For the Afterglow”. “Heartspark Dollarsign”, a track about the hardships that an interracial couple faces in a family of racists and bigots, was one of the highlights of their set for me as it has always been a favorite of mine and it was good to see it played live once again.
Everclear seemed to be plagued by guitar problems throughout the night but they pushed through the technical difficulties and gave the fans a good show. Some highlight tracks of the night were “Sunflowers”, “I Will Buy You A New Life”, “Amphetamine”, “Father of Mine” and of course, “Santa Monica”.
The Summerland Tour 2018 had a solid lineup of bands that were on the mark this night. Local H tore things up with a loud, fast and furious punk-influenced grunge set; Marcy Playground brought the pop sensibilities with their catchy, witty and fun setlist while Everclear rocked the Rhythm Grille with the songs that people were there to hear. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended a rock show with a solid lineup that didn’t disappoint and the Summerland Tour of 2018 fit the bill. Rock is so much more fun when it comes from the 90s. Here’s looking forward to the Summerland Tour coming around our neck of the woods in 2019.