Live Review: Everclear, Hangar 18

6 October 2017 | 12:40 pm | Tobias Handke

"Nostalgia is alive and well and paying Everclear's bills."

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New Zealand's Hangar 18 do their best to get the crowd rocking with a blend of melodic guitar riffs and '90s alternative-rock posturing. Recently reformed after a 16-year hiatus, Hanger 18 haven't skipped a beat, impressing with a tight and professional showing that's thoroughly entertaining.

It's hard to believe 20 years have passed since Everclear released So Much For The Afterglow, however a cursory glance at the crowd confirms this fact. Mullets, flannelette shirts and sneans are out in force with the average age hovering around the 40 mark. When Everclear finally appear, the audience reaction is deafening and any doubts the crowd might be subdued are put to bed early. Here to perform their third album in its entirety, sound issues plague the first few songs with frontman and sole remaining original member Art Alexakis struggling through the title track and Everything To Everyone. Thankfully, by Normal Like You the sound is sorted and Alexaki's voice, while never overly strong, resonates throughout the venue.

Alexakis dedicates I Will Buy You A New Life to the bass player of The Mercy Kills whose father passed away, forcing them to cancel their support slot tonight. It's a touching moment from the bleached-blonde haired Alexakis who gets the entire crowd singing along during the chorus. Crowd participation is the theme of the night as Alexakis also calls for help during a spirited Father Of Mine. The groovy One Hit Wonder closes out the first half of the album as Everclear mix it up with a couple of tracks from Sparkle And Fade: Heroin Girl is Everclear at their blistering best while Heartspark Dollarsign's tale of equality has never been more relevant. There's even a fan request in the form of the grungy Fire Maple Song from first album World Of Noise.

Instrumental El Distorto De Melodica signals the band's return to So Much For The Afterglow. Amphetamine is an adrenalin shot of rock that even puts Everclear off their game as they transition into Sunflowers instead of White Men In Black Suits, messing up the album's tracklisting. Nobody in attendance realises until bassist Freddy Herrera points out the mistake, with the track slipping into the setlist a few songs later. Alexakis dismisses the need for encores and Herrera agrees, telling everyone they'll be back after final song Like A Californian King.

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True to their word, Everclear return for four more songs. Alexakis performs a solo acoustic rendition of Strawberry that has grown men hugging and singing along. "We can't come to Australia and not play this one," he says before starting a mini-mosh for Local God. Wonderful incites another mass singalong before Everclear end with arguably their biggest hit Santa Monica.

As fans line up excitedly for autographs at the merch table after the show, it's obvious nostalgia is alive and well and paying Everclear's bills.