7 Habits

7 Habits of Highly Effective Mattopians

Live at the Roseland Ballroom, Matthattan
18 April 2003

Authority Zero: F
The exies: B
Everclear: A

Opening Act One: Authority Zero are an absolute zero...
They're the kind of band that's really just a wannabe. Each song starts out offering some kind of novelty, but then they all quickly devolve into a single sound. On top of it all, the lyrics are almost entirely unintelligible. And the lead singer is a one-note wonder; he displays absolutely no vocal range as he shouts out in one pitch all the songs.

Trying to warm up the crowd, the lead singer (I'll let him remain nameless... actually, I simply don't care enough to look him up) would chit-chat a bit and ask the crowd simple little questions. No matter how many hands were raised, the guy would say, "OK. There's four or five of you who..." blah blah blah.

Basically a bad frat band, they're fronted by a semi-jock with a plain blue baseball cap (What's this? A mesh back? Puh-leeze!) and baggy jeans. Big whoop.

They covered La Bamba. Stunningly, they made it sound exactly like all of their own crap. That's how badly they sucked.

Late Note: These guys had to "cancel" the rest of the tour with Everclear shortly after this gig.

Opening Act Two: The exies have potential...
Overheard from a girl next to me, "exies" is short for existentialists. They're name is heavy, but these guys at least look like a real rock band. Plus they have a couple good tunes.

The lead singer plugged their new album (they're almost giving it away at the stores, he joked about the sub-$10 price tag). He also joked about not burning off unlawful copies... or if you do, at least feel guilty about it. Some hooligan told him to f*** off, to which the guy responded by urging the hooligan to relax. Feel the love.

Actually, the exies have a "peace and love" kind of mentality that's unique for what is essentially a skateboard rock band. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here.

The Main Event: Everclear show what they're made of...
I've never seen Everclear before (drank it and, as a result, became the subject of some blackmail-calibre material, but never seen the band before). Over the past couple years I've started to appreciate some of the band's stuff (and have steered away from the beverage whenever it rears its ugly head).

Anyway, it was a great coincidence they were in Matthattan during one of my quasi-impromptu weekends in the Big Apple. Seeing them live proved to be quite a treat.

Let's see... It was quite an eventful night for both the band and the fans. For starters, they sang happy birthday to the drummer, Greg Eklund. An Aries. Art Alexakis, the lead singer, is also an Aries. And... uh... so am I!

Later on, one of the roadies, Brett, had the band sing happy birthday to his girlfriend. He brought her on stage, then proposed. She accepted.

During Santa Monica, Art asked who in the crowd could play backup guitar for them. Of course a bunch of hands shot up... Art chose a girl. He said, not to be sexist, mind you, the last couple girls who tried really sucked. She was 13. She rocked. Then she went back to be with her parents. Her name's Cassie. She very well might be the next Avril Lavigne.

One of the cool things was how Art kept emphasizing the importance of simply having fun and enjoying the show. Of course, it's New York and they're Everclear, so some expletives helped bring the point home a little more emphatically. As Art said, it's not how good you look, but just having a good time.

In keeping with that theme, there was a lot of body surfing action along with a pretty serious mosh pit. But I chose not to partake this time. Everclear's not exactly a band to "mellow out" to, but I wanted to take it easy for the evening.

The real revelation of the evening, though, was Craig Montoya, the bassist. Man o' man! Incredible! A chain-smoking guitar player might not be all that unique, but this guy is ssmmmokin'! Multi-talented, he plays the bass but also has a great singing voice. What was really cool was the biggest display of pure rock 'n' roll bravura I've seen since... Gosh... Since Bono brought down the house in Vegas during the Elevation tour. Craig went out and body surfed across the crowd as he sang. Not only that, he stood on the crowd, letting the fans hold him up.

I actually lost track of the guy while I took in in the whole atmosphere of the moment. He reapplied right off to my other side, on the side stage where all the "VIPs" were sitting.

What would've really made him a rock god is if he had kept smoking the whole time. Whooaa... Dude!

For the finale, they brought three girls and three boys on stage to go-go dance along with Alex's wife. One of those boys was reeally big and did the obligatory Chris Farley/Fat Bastard nipple pinch. He couldn't dance for poopie, though. Neither could any of the others! P-U! (Well, Alex's wife did OK.)

New York holds special significance for Art. He met his wife here four years ago; but it wasn't a slutty groupie thing, he said. It was beautiful. He also dedicated a couple songs, including Learning How to Smile, to NYC.

During the last song, a whole flotilla from the crowd were brought on stage in what became a veritable free-for-all.

When all was said and done, Craig referred to it as a "train wreck" and thanked the crowd for supplying them with - by far - the best show of the tour so far.

No no, Craig. Thank you.




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