The Pasadena Playhouse is not the first (or
second, or third!) venue that comes to mind when considering
rock concert locations. That may soon change if a recent concert
by the multi-platinum selling band Everclear is any indication.
The band, founded in Oregon in 1992, is still going strong.
Everclear is currently in its fourth incarnation, but retains
Art Alexakis on guitar and lead vocals. As such, the sound is
just as I remember it from the ubiquitous radio play that began
in the mid-nineties and continues today. With hits such as
Father of Mine, I Will Buy You A New Life, Santa Monica,
Wonderful, and Everything to Everyone (plus album sales north of
six million) Everclear has enjoyed a long and successful run.
While the band showed up on this night to play
all those hits, their performance (for which a portion of the
proceeds will benefit the Playhouse’s Wells Fargo Music
Diversity Program) was still quite unique. Part of this was due
to the intimate environment the Pasadena Playhouse offers with a
capacity of just 658. Another big part it was because of the
volunteer staff on hand. This was the most helpful group of
people I’ve dealt with at a concert venue since, well, ever! A
small snafu at Will Call was remedied with alacrity. Security,
the ushers, and the management were obviously there to help (as
opposed to hinder and harass) the patrons. In fairness to larger
venues, seating, crowd control (and credential issues at Will
Call) are far more difficult to deal with due to the sheer
numbers involved. Regardless, every person that I dealt with
from this venue was a real pleasure to interact with.
From the moment the lead singer parked his truck next to mine in
the public lot behind the Playhouse, I realized that this was
not going to be the “usual show.” My guess was confirmed when
the band immediately started taking requests and engaging in
conversations with the audience. One fan even had the temerity
to approach/rush the stage to offer Alexakis a drink. (The offer
was politely declined, as Alexakis has been sober for over two
decades.) Just try THAT brilliant maneuver at most concerts and
see how the talent and security react!
The Men’s Choir of Pasadena Community College provided rich
backup vocals for a portion of the Everclear performance, while
The Fetching, a collaboration between singer/songwriter Tahkus
and guitarist/songwriter Santiago Granados, opened the show.
Tahkus and Granados met while students at the Los Angeles Music
Academy (LAMA) in Pasadena and founded their band in 2011.
Alexakis (who will soon be teaching as a Professor of
Songwriting at LAMA) chose The Fetching to open over several
other LAMA alumni bands in contention for the spot. A fine
choice indeed, as Tahkus’ feminine yet powerful vocals were a
nice opening band contrast to the testosterone driven sound that
While the acoustics of the Pasadena Playhouse, in operation
since 1924, are not ideal, the overall experience this tiny
space offers is. My hope is that the success of the Everclear
concert will lead to many more like it at the Playhouse, which
will fast become my venue of choice.
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