Everclear

Portland, Ore., rock band Everclear hit the brightly lit El Rey stage with a vengeance Tuesday --- perhaps to make up for their previous L.A. show, a lame effort last year at the Santa Monica Civic --- by delivering a powerful version of "So Much For the Afterglow," the bracing title track from their new Capitol album.

But in typical Everclear fashion, the energy and the excitement quickly flagged, and much of the remainder of the 80-minute concert was dominated by routine guitar rock that failed to make a very strong case for the group’s future.

The band’s sound is fattened these days by the addition of touring guitarist Steven Birch, whose muscular power chords were an improvement over the band’s days as a trio. Frontman Art Alexakis, though, isn’t nearly as impressive as he thinks he is; his repetitive songwriting, his penchant for one-dimensional, first-person lyrics and his limited vocal abilities made for an underwhelming package that resulted in many early exits from the hall.

Occasional bright lights did shine through the show’s darkness, including a cool version of early track “Fire Maple Song,” and a heated take of the band’s best live song, “Heroin Girl,” from 1995’s platinum “Sparkle and Fade.”

Everclear

El Rey Theatre; 900 capacity; $15

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice Band: Art Alexakis, Craig Montoya, Greg Eklund, Steven Birch. Reviewed Nov. 25, 1997.

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