The music we loved as teenagers tends to be the music we love for the rest of our lives.
Believe it or not, there’s even some academic evidence to back up that assertion, by McGill University psychology professor Daniel J. Levitin, director of the school’s Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise.
Without getting too deep into it, there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence to back that up. How else to explain how every rock act from the ‘70s through the ‘90s who’s had half a hit can make a living on the road these days?
With that in mind, it’s nice that when Everclear planned its “So Much for the Afterglow” 20th Anniversary tour, it booked a couple of supporting bands who were more than — to invoke a song from that album — one-hit wonders.
Fastball and Vertical Horizon joined headliner Everclear for a show at The Republik on Friday night that delivered great rock ’n’ roll in a variety of styles. (The bands perform at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center tonight.)
Fastball opened the show with its genial power pop, Vertical Horizon followed with guitar-charged alt-rock and Everclear took the crowd to a frenzy with its rougher-edged punk-influenced rock.
Singer-guitarist Tony Scalzo said in a phone interview ahead of the show that Fastball’s mission was to warm up the crowd, and they succeeded, both musically and in setting the tone with some nice banter.
The highlight exchange came when a man in the audience yelled “play your song” and Scalzo retorted, “We have more than one song, dude, c’mon.”
No band wants to be boiled down to just its biggest hit, and this trio from Austin, Texas, may have waited till its last song to play theirs (“The Way”), but along the way they showed for 40-plus minutes that they indeed have songs.
Fastball opened with guitarist Miles Zuniga singing lead on a guitared-up version of “Fire Escape” from their 1998 breakout album “All the Pain Money Can Buy” and the set took them through all their albums since, including the recently released “Step Into Light.”
The band was solid throughout, showing more edge than they do on their records, including some prolonged guitar riffing on the chugging “Till I Get It Right.”
Scalzo moved to keyboards late in the show for “Out of My Head,” their contemplative hit ballad from “Pain” that rapper Machine Gun Kelly recently repurposed for his hit duet with Camila Cabello, “Bad Things.”
That heckler finally got what he wanted when Fastball wrapped with “The Way,” opening with Scalzo just singing while playing keys, Zuniga joining in with some bluesy guitar and drummer Joey Shuffield kicking in to bring it to full rock, the song ending in a full audience singalong.
Vertical Horizon took the stage next, clad all in black, ripping into “Save Me from Myself.” The rhythm section of Ron LaVella (drums) and Jeffrey Jarvis (bass) laid a strong foundation early and Donovan White and singer Matt Scannell were a formidable twin-guitar attack all night long.
Scannell said he was fighting a cold he caught from a baby on the flight over, but his voice seemed hardly the weaker for it. Nevertheless, the crowd was very ready to help out when he called on it, singing along on several tracks, starting with the album track “Send It Up” early in the show, which he introduced by saying “If you know this song, we love you. If you don’t know this song … well, we still love you, because we don’t really know this song. Help us out.”
Vertical Horizon played songs from across its catalog, but also threw in a song from an upcoming record, the radio-ready “I’m Gonna Save You.”
Scannell’s connection to the audience wasn’t limited to his requests for assistance — he was chatty at times. But the highlight was watching his eyes light up when the crowd went crazy as the band launched into “You’re a God,” which is easy to imagine being his favorite part of the evening. That kind of audience reaction is a reminder of why, besides getting to play music for a living, these guys are willing to spend so much of their lives on the road.
The band then took it to the next level by closing their nearly hourlong set with “Everything You Want,” the multi-format chart-topper that propelled the album of the same name past double-platinum status.
As responsive as the crowd was for those first two bands, once Everclear took the stage, it was clear pretty quickly who they were there to see. The energy hit another level from the opening chords of “So Much for the Afterglow,” the title track off the album the band was here to celebrate. (The quartet were even clad in black suits, a nod to the “Afterglow” track “White Men in Black Suits,” though the band is not composed simply of those titular “white men.”)
Everclear is often described simplistically as “post-grunge,” but their many influences come across in their music. On “Afterglow,” you can hear singer-guitarist Art Alexakis’ affection for ‘80s indie punk bands such as the Descendents and the Dead Kennedys. The purpose of the tour aside, it’s a great song to open with.
In a throwback to Alexakis’ ‘70s and ‘80s roots, bassist Freddy Herrera noted they were breaking the album into Side 1 and Side 2, and true to that form “Everything to Everyone” was next, the singer imploring the crowd to jump and most complying, prompting Alexakis’ appreciation: “Look at all you happy people! I (bleeping) love it! Why can’t people on the mainland be happier?”
The audience missed out on a chance for a throwback of its own. Formation of a mosh pit seemed in play at this point, as it did for much of the show, though it never quite materialized.
Everclear squeezed some songs from predecessor “Sparkle and Fade” in between the two sides of “Afterglow” as well as playing a string of hits after.
One unexpected highlight was the nostalgic “AM Radio,” one of Everclear’s lighter songs, from 2000’s “Songs from an American Movie Vol. One.” Guitarist Davey French opened it with a riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” a kind of ‘70s stand-in for the recorded version’s interpolation of Jean Knight’s 1971 soul hit “Mr. Big Stuff.” True to that switch, the live version proved much more rockin’ than the single fans are familiar with.
Everclear closed their 87-minute set strong with perhaps their two biggest hits, “Wonderful” and “Santa Monica” — “Hope you don’t mind if we blow out that encore (nonsense),” Alexakis said — though the sound fuzzed out a bit during the latter. Nevertheless the crowd of close to a thousand was sent home happy, if also a tad deafer.