After being moved from The Marble Factory to the more compact and cozy confines of The Fleece this had all the makings of one of those nights. Upon entering the Jam-packed venue on a school night Everclear were just entering the stage armed and ready to rock and for the next hour they rocked, amused and generally dished out a value-for-money support set where they packed in fifteen songs from all corners of their catalogue. Sure Alex sounded a little horse and rough around the edges vocally but the energy was evident from the opening of ‘So Much For The Afterglow’ through ‘Father Of Mine’ and the bulk of the set featured tracks from ‘The Afterglow’ album. Live there is less of the studio sheen and the band just rock out and are happy to wing it and jam out The ‘Sparkle And Fade’ tracks like ‘Strawberries’ and ‘Heartspark Dollar sign’ sounded great and suitable deep into the setlist when the band had warmed up and were really cooking. By the time they reached the encore cover of The Vaselines ‘Mollys Lips’ it was done and they lapped up the very generous and deserved applause from the packed audience.

It still blows my mind this is their 30th Anniversary tour They’re looking good and sounding great I hope Art was telling the truth when he said see you in two years, it’s a date!

Its been a while between seeing Soul Asylum and when the change of venue was announced I was a little worried it might never happen but being in the thick of a packed-out Fleece on a school night filled me with excitement and joy – feelings I’ve had from my teen when going to a Rock and Roll show and still have in adulthood (cough cough) ‘Ambling onto the tight Fleece stage the band waste no time kicking into ‘Somebody To Shove’ off the excellent big breakthrough album ‘Grave Dancers Union’. Sure the “Big Hit” albums featured heavily and I’m good with that because I loved and still do love those records even the radio-friendly hits and tonight they still sounded excellent with Pirner telling jokes and looking like he was having a great time delivering these songs with as much passion and joy as he did thirty years ago.

The earlier albums were represented and a fantastic rendition of ‘Made To Be Broken’ and ‘Never Really Been’ peppered the air mid-set which was as far back as the band ventured. ‘Got It Pretty Good’ from their last studio album snuck in the early set and sounded excellent with its stomping tempo and punch-the-air chorus. Their excellent version of ‘Summer Of Drugs’ was a set high point even if Dave’s stand-up jokes were not but you can’t have everything can you?

I thought Pirners vocals sounded excellent and he still oozed class throughout what was a fantastic set – there can’t have been anyone leaving the venue disappointed with that setlist sure old school fans always want more of the early tunes but there’s a balance to be struck for a band who’ve been at this for decades the band displayed fantastic energy and the balance of being a credible, relevant band was struck Memories of the early to mid-90s came flooding back like it was yesterday and the songs are still as good and the band has still got it. Til the next time, this will more than do – An excellent night of Rock and Roll from two great bands. Now that’s value for money right there.

Author: Dom Daley