Everclear was left for dead three years ago, when much of its fan base jumped ship in reaction to the group’s release of two overly ambitious and misguided albums within four months of one other. This flat Saturday show was just one more nail in the coffin.
In an effort to regain past glories and record sales, the Portland, Ore., band has — on its month-old “Slow Motion Daydream” (Capitol) — moved from songs strictly concerned with singer-guitarist Art Alexakis’ miserable life to commentary on current events and pop culture. The shift in themes, however, has not helped the group (which here included an extra member on rhythm guitar) stop its slide to obscurity.
The Wiltern was only half-sold for this show, and many who showed up appeared to wish they hadn’t bothered. Despite a semi-rousing opening that included the band’s older hit “Heroin Girl” and “Blackjack” — the best song on the new album — the 90-minute production quickly settled into a boring groove, making clear how similar much of the band’s material really is.
Recent singles “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom,” with its lame “Where do all the porn stars go, when the lights go down” refrain, and “The New York Times” earn Alexakis some points for effort, but his political statements therein come off as forced and awkward. “Volvo” even segued into a gnarly bass solo, a bad move for any band these days.
The poppy, Peter Wolf-inspired “Wonderful” and early hit “Santa Monica” — which included a fan pulled from the crowd playing guitar — were the best songs of the older material, but those occasional bright spots couldn’t make up for such boring new tunes as the late-set “Pale Green Stars,” which sucked what little energy was left in the room away.
A few dozen fans ended up on stage during the finale, dancing as bassist Craig Montoya led the house (with strong vocals, actually) through a cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” an aptly gimmicky ending for such a lame concert.