Summerland 2014 – Everclear, Soul Asylum, Eve 6 & Spacehog
Irving Plaza – New York City
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
On this day 20 years ago my hometown New York Knicks won Game 5 of the NBA Finals while O.J. Simpson was on TV, well at least his white bronco was.. being chased by police down the freeway. Those were good times. So it’s most certainly fitting to attend the only throwback 90s concert tour worth seeing tonight: Summerland 2014. Everclear, Soul Asylum, Eve 6 and Spacehog. Let nostalgia not be a dirty word tonight as we take a trip back two decades. Doors open at 6:30 and showtime is set for 7:30.
Art Alexakis was on stage at 7:27 to let us know how he believes this years Summerland is the best yet. This will be an ongoing theme as Art is a social guy, and will introduce every band that’s not his tonight. Seems to be trying to build on the Summerland thing, maybe keep this as a recurring tour year to year. I speak for tons of us when I say fuck yes that is exactly what I want.
Spacehog plowed through the opening slot well, playing songs like Candyman and Mongo to settle in the late comers still straggling in. Might be more people in VIP upstairs than in the standing room downstairs. Heaven for bid one of these juice bag guards let me snap a shot from anywhere that’s not the photo pit. This place is filling out as walking to the staircase is becoming a bitch. Played a song off their new record called Love Is a Curious is Thing (at least what I want to say the name is) and that had my head nodding swiftly as I scoped out some better spots. And to the guy surfing OkCupid during their set.. Come on man, seriously? Spacehog rocked In The Meantime to end the evening slightly before 8PM. The crowd more than thrilled and gave a resounding roar.
Eve 6 had tons of fans in the house here to just see them as I found out while outside smoking. When they jumped into their set, it was clear to me what was to like about this band besides Inside Out. These dudes can still kick it. At one point the lead singer screamed “everyone on your feet!” To the standing room only crowd. Habit I guess? Here’s To The Night was a heavy hitter tonight, as I was reminded that I do in fact know and love this song.
At the end of their set, we let the filming commence on “Inside Out” which had to be one of the best moments inside that building this evening. They put my tender heart in a blender and were through by 8:45. Incredible energy.
While doing the pre band introduction, Art says he’s “been trying to get Soul Asylum on this tour since the first year”. A few minutes after 9 Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum hit the stage for a quick set of hits to get Irving Plaza jumping. This band is so under appreciated. From their nutty 80s years to not getting eaten up by the 90s. Pirner is having so much fun, and so is the rest of this band. Made sure to let the bassist know it was a great set as he passed by me later on the evening. After the first couple songs you get booted from the photo pit, so I found a little corner for us antisocial folks. Myself and the non-socialites rocked out to Misery and Black Gold. The former of which Art came on stage to share some vocals duties towards the end.
To sit here and try and pretend that Runaway Train wasn’t incredible to witness live, every time live for that matter, would just be absolute lunacy. Dave Pirner is often forgotten as one of the great songwriters of my generation, oddly that might be because he didn’t O.D. or kill himself.
Somebody To Shove and Just Like Anyone closes down a feisty set at about 9:40. What a band. I’m gonna see them every time they come to town if it’s gonna be this much fun and this rockin’ every time. Also times flies when you’re having fun, very surprised how quickly this evening is moving along.
Max Collins of Eve 6 was tapped to introduce Everclear, who came out together instruments in hand side by side and played a cooled down Santa Monica for about a minute or so. I did notice on the setlist that Santa Monica was listed as both the set opener and closer. In the photo pit I got experience up close and person Heroin Girl and Father of Mine, the ladder of which I snuck video of because I’m just plain allergic to rules. I fucking love those songs. If I wasn’t busy snapping photos I’d be jumping around as if I was the one happy in hell with my heroin girl.
As I’ve been doing throughout the evening, I headed to the red couch in the back to stand on after the first couple songs of each band. Now we’re at the end of the night, so let’s do what I do best: roll film.
AM Radio, Everything To Everyone, I Will Buy You A New Life and the aforementioned Father of Mine are all being uploaded to Youtube as we speak. Hopefully we can remove this last sentence sooner rather than later.
But really what this is all about, the essence that Summerland is aiming for is just fun times with good bands playing music with guitars. This epiphany was had during Wonderful, because in all honesty every thing IS wonderful now. Maybe Art Alexakis and Douche McGrath had a disagreement on what this concert tour should be, but I’m #TeamArt on this one. Let’s keep this going.
The amped up version of Santa Monica closed the set, the only song I can kinda play on real guitar. Or so that’s what was believed but the band came back out to play some 70s covers superjam while introducing the members of the band. Heard bits of Queen, Judas Priest, Zeppelin.
They were kicking out the hard jams, this is the loudest they’ve been all night. And then, around 11PM it was over. Summerland 2014 was over. And it was back to normal life.. Sad face emoticon.