The Songs & Stories tour, the new acoustic tour put on by Everclear front man Art Alexakis and pals Max Collins (from Eve 6), John Wozniak (from Marcy Playground) and Chris Collingwood (from Fountains of Wayne) rolled through Southern California last week, stopping at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on Friday night.
The draw for this sort of tour package is quite obviously nostalgia — but for two-plus hours, these singer/songwriters collectively responsible for some of the most ubiquitous ’90s and early 2000s’ alt/rock anthems that still take up residence in your memory decades later put on an endlessly entertaining show.
And I say ‘show’ because it was much more than just a traditional concert. The show’s unique structure brought all four musicians on stage together to begin the night’s proceedings. As a collective, they played a cover song chosen by one of the musicians, before he then played his own solo set for roughly thirty minutes.
This was what elevated the show to a level you don’t really see much anymore. Rather than just having each guy take the stage by himself and play a few songs, leading up to Alexakis’ headlining set, they played together numerous times, interweaving stories from throughout their respective careers and personal lives.
The conversational tone eliminated the usual barriers that exist between artist and performer, leaving them exposed and vulnerable — both themes of these musicians’ bodies of work. Each of the four are sober, and this was a topic that came up frequently throughout the evening, as they discussed some of the highs (and inevitable lows) of where their careers have taken them over the years.
Song-wise, everybody played their biggest hits. Wozniak’s acoustic set culminated in his band’s huge 1997 single “Sex and Candy,” while Collins mixed in new material with Eve 6’s breakout singles “Inside Out” and “Here’s to the Night,” while Collingwood played both “Radiation Vibe” and “Stacy’s Mom,” the two most commercially successful songs of Fountains of Wayne’s career.
Alexakis, who recently announced he’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, didn’t mention it during the show, opting instead for his music and storytelling to be at the forefront. From “Father of Mine” to “Wonderful,” “Santa Monica” and “I Will Buy You A New Life,” all of Everclear’s biggest hits were represented.
After Alexakis’ set, the four gathered on stage to pay homage to The Band with “The Weight’:
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The #SongsAndStoriesTour is a great time – @artpopking of @everclear, Fountains of Wayne’s @lookparkmusic, @eve6’s @maxcollinsmusic and John Wozniak of @marcyplaygroundofficial tell stories, play all kinds of songs and have a lot of fun. They also play their favorite songs, including The Band’s “The Weight,” together. A really entertaining tour. #Everclear #Eve6 #FountainsOfWayne #MarcyPlayground #1990s
Once that was finished, they then sat on stools and answered some questions from fans in attendance, with topics ranging from their past substance abuse and how they managed to conquer those demons, the effects of their childhoods on the music they made later in their lives, their earliest music-buying experiences and more.
The Songs & Stories tour was a brilliant idea conceived by Alexakis. Though the attendance at this show was a bit disappointing, those who were there clearly had a great time, and it was readily apparent the musicians themselves were having just as great a time from the stage.
Catch the Songs & Stories tour if it visits your city and you’re interested in an intimate, close-up performance from some pretty accomplished rockers of the past few decades.
The remaining dates:
5/14 Albuquerque, NM @ The Stage at Santa Ana Star
5/16 Santa Ana Pueblo, TX @ Aztec Theater
5/17 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
5/18 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
5/19 Austin, TX @ 3TEN Austin City Limits
5/21 Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
5/22 Charlotte, NC @ McGlohon Theater
5/23 Nashville, TN @ City Winery
5/25 Leesburg, VA @ Tally Ho Theater
5/26 Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
5/28 Boston, MA @ City Winery
5/29 Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
5/30 New York City, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
6/1 Waterloo, ON @ Maxwell’s Concerts & Events
6/2 London, ON @ London Music Hall
6/4 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
6/5 Chicago, IL @ City Winery
6/6 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
6/7 Mt Clemens, MI @ The Emerald Theatre
6/11 Fargo, ND @ Fargo Theatre
6/12 Sioux Falls, SD @ The District