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The 90’s Come Back to Waterloo

The famous rock band Everclear performed at Cattle Congress, and luckily I was able to watch.

On September 23, the famous alternative rock band Everclear performed in the Hippodrome at the National Cattle Congress here in Waterloo. The initial ticket prices were only 35 dollars, but slowly rose until the night of the performance.

Davey French and Art Alexakis improvising guitar solos with each other. (Mallory Mills)

Since forming in 1992 in Portland Oregon, the band rose to fame thanks to their main singer, Art Alexakis’ unique voice. With 11 studio releases, Everclear has had a lengthy career and still maintains a large fanbase of both older and newer fans. The band’s original lineup consisted of singer Art Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Scott Cuthbert. Except for Alexakis, the lineup has changed completely, now consisting of guitarist Davey French, bassist Freddy Herrera and drummer Brian Nolan. Everclear is currently on their 2023 Everclear tour with special guests The Pink Spiders and The Ataris as the openers. But for this show, it was only The Pink Spiders as the opener.

The show was set to begin at 7 PM, and the doors opened at 6 PM. There was a stage on the floor of the arena, with open space available for standing. For those who wanted to sit, all of the seats in front of the stage were available. The Pink Spiders did not come on stage until about 7:30, so it gave attendees plenty of time to purchase merch and interact. I was one of the few that were standing outside of the doors until they were opened, so we were the first to get in line for the merchandise table that was set up inside. I was lucky enough to buy an exclusive Everclear poster and T-Shirt, which I was told I could get signed at the end of the show.

Once we were settled with our merch, we stood right in front of the stage, leaning against the gate. People began to slowly file in, filling in the floor and some of the seats. For a band of this status, the crowd was pretty small. Though I may just be a sucker for 90’s alternative bands, it was surprising to see how few people showed up. But I think both of the bands preferred it, since it provided more opportunities for interaction with their fans and the crowd.

OPENING ACT: THE PINK SPIDERS

The Pink Spiders bassist, JoCo. (Mallory Mills)

When I heard the opener was going to be a band called The Pink Spiders, I genuinely did not know what to expect. I thought it would be a girl group that played alternative rock, which would fit with Everclear. But in actuality, it was middle aged men. They all had pink instruments, and were super into their music and performing.

The lead singer of The Pink Spiders, Matt Friction. (Mallory Mills)

The second they came on stage, they had tons of energy and really had fun with the show. I had never heard of them before, so it was refreshing to hear something new and enjoy it. Their style was very early 2000’s rock, so it didn’t surprise me when I found out they in fact began in the 2000’s.

One thing singer Matt Friction mentioned a few times was the 1000 pound pig that was in the building next door. I thought it was funny to see how amazed he was by the fact there was a giant pig, even though Iowans are used to that kind of thing.

Overall, I’d say The Pink Spiders were decent, considering the fact they were only the opener. Although they are not necessarily my cup of tea, I think they are a good band for people who enjoy their genre of music.

MAIN ACT: EVERCLEAR

The beginning of Everclear’s performance. (Mallory Mills)

Once The Pink Spiders were done performing, there was about a twenty minute long intermission so the bands could swap out equipment. During this intermission, people went out to get merch, drinks, and use the bathroom.

The stage went dark as the band walked on stage, and everyone erupted with cheers. After more than two hours of waiting, Everclear was finally performing. Throughout their two hour show, they played their most well known songs, such as “I Will Buy You a New Life”, “Wonderful”, and many more. Because of the small crowd, the entire show felt very inviting and more connected than most big shows filling entire stadiums.

Alexakis was very interactive with the crowd, and talked to us like we were an old friend. I had never been to a concert like this before, so it was amazing to feel connected to an artist I enjoy.

After each song, they would turn off all of the lights and the stage would go black, until a new color came on and some of the guitarists had switched out guitars. Alexakis went all out and probably had around five different guitar changes throughout his performance.

AFTER THE SHOW

Everclear ended the show with one of their hits, Santa Monica. Alexakis began tossing out guitar picks into the crowd, which people snatched up immediately. I was lucky enough to get one earlier from lead guitarist Davey French, who threw it specifically to me.

Me and The Pink Spiders posing for a picture after the show! (Mallory Mills)

The best part of this concert for me was being able to meet both of the bands after the show. Both bands were super kind and happy to meet new and old fans of theirs. They stood behind each booth, and I got the chance to take a picture with The Pink Spiders! They were super nice, and loved the fact people wanted to take pictures with them.

This concert was so much better than I expected. I did not think I would get the opportunity to not only meet the band, but get to talk to them and have normal conversations with them. I find many people idolize singers, without considering the fact they are people. Experiences like these help remind us as listeners that these are people too, not just voices. They have personalities and feelings, and it makes the whole idea of musicians much more real and humanizes them.

Although it may seem not worth it to go to smaller shows with bands you’ve never heard of, it doesn’t hurt to experience new bands and hear new sounds. It is good to discover new things and help the bands as well. Next time you see those 30 dollar tickets for a band you don’t know, you might as well go and see it.

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About the Contributor
Mallory Mills, Print Co-Editor-In-Chief; Yearbook Section Editor
Mallory Mills is a senior at West High and this is her second year on yearbook and the Wahawk Insider staff. She is a reporter for the Wahawk Insider and is the People and Clubs/Orgs section editor for Yearbook. Outside of school, Mallory is usually listening to music, spending time with her family and friends, or attending a concert.
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    StacieSep 28, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    The Cattle Congress has had a surprising number of pretty big acts show up over the years. Sounds like this was another great show!

    Reply