red lights

Everclear Steals the Show

matchbox twenty / Everclear
U.S Cellular Arena
Feb. 28, 2001

Rob Thomas
Rob Thomas feels his soul!

Story and Photos by Phil Bonyata

Matchbox twenty's arrival in Milwaukee last night, along with Everclear, was a welcome addition to the otherwise bleak winter concert season.
The sold out U.S. Cellular Arena found Rob Thomas and his talented group of musicians in a rather serious and stoic mood. Their portrayal of their music as serious art rather than catchy, toe tappin' pop was comical. C'mon guys lighten up, your music isn't thought provoking or profound, but simply good fun.
Rob Thomas, looking and acting every bit the part of the pouty rock sex symbol, clad in a black western shirt, jeans and long unkempt hair, casually broke into their 1997 hit "Push." The band beat the strings and skins with greater enthusiasm then Thomas could muster. He needs Mick Jagger to tutor him on how to be a proper rock peacock. New songs "Crutch" and "If You're Gone" from the recent Mad Season are strong numbers on record, but the live renditions offered no new substance. It took the first encore to finally get matchbox twenty out of their shell. The choppy guitars along with the catchy bass hooks must've ignited Thomas because he now moved with a newfound passion and authority. If the boys could just can the essence of this song and throw it in a blender, add some juice and drink it before every song that they perform they will discover the secret formula that alludes many bands today? Matchbox twenty has talent and charisma, but they just don't know how and when to use it!
The California trio, Everclear was clearly the highlight of the evening. Lead singer Art Alexakis went wild on this performance! The band opened with "When It All Goes Wrong Again," the hallucinogenic guitars feeding off each other like two black widows locked in mortal combat. Alexakis hopped around and threw his fists in the air like a kangaroo that didn't know or care that he left his boxing gloves at home. Everclears' talent and energy is blatantly apparent. Let's hope matchbox twenty took a few notes backstage.

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