Flash Back to the 90’s! Summerland 2012 (Photo Gallery)

The Summerland 2012 Music Tour time machine landed right here in Columbus last week, packed with songs that are guaranteed to evoke memories of where we were the first time we heard them. The first group to take the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion stage following a brief intro from Mark McGrath and Art Alexakis was Marcy Playground, a band who toured with Everclear back in ’98 when their song “Sex and Candy” had first found fame. The crowd soon learned that the trio wasn’t there to just play a round of greatest hits (hmm, or hit, I suppose), they promoting the release of their sixth album Lunch, Recess & Detention, which will come out this Tuesday, July 17. Singer John Wozniak’s vocals were as solid as ever and while their tunes may not be well-known, they were good.  The unfortunate part however, was that a large chunk of the concert’s attendees were still on their way to the show or worse, in the long will-call line.

Lit, a five piece band who once called themselves Razzle (89-93) and then Stain (94-96) prior to their 1999 hit “My Own Worst Enemy”, took the stage second (and by take, I mean they owned it within seconds). Their set of sing-a-long 90’s anthems also included a new tune, “You Tonight,” which hit iTunes on May 1, 2012. The energetic group rocked the stage like it was 1999 (sorry, couldn’t help myself), assuring us that they are still rockers.

With a gracious introduction from the obvious MC of the night Mark McGrath, the Gin Blossoms appeared. Singer Robin Wilson, decked out in a red tie and a tambourine, put singers half his age to shame as he proved time hasn’t affected his endurance or his ability to move quickly and sing without missing a beat. The audience whole-heartedly sang along to hits like “Until I Hear it From You”, “Follow You Down”, and “Hey Jealousy” and visibly loved every second.

It is no secret that Orange County, California native Mark McGrath was the poster boy for nineties pop-rock.  Let me tell you, he still is. Wearing white pants and a fitted tee to compliment his spiky blond tips, he seemed unchanged by the passing of a decade. What makes this chart-topping pop singer turned T.V. personality the most fun is that he has taken that 90’s California look and made it his trademark. The band came onstage preceded by the Saved by the Bell theme blasting through the speakers. They played a few of their hits, then two disappointing covers (a Ramones tune followed by good old “Hip Hop Hooray”) in lieu of two more songs of their own, before wrapping up with “Fly”.

The tour was the vision of Art Alexakis, who is the only remaining original member of Everclear, formed in 1992. The name Summerland even came from one of his songs. Considering those factoids, it was a bit surprising that the band sounded off.  Alexakis sounded hoarse and distant, for most of their hour long set.  They group closed out the show with an energetic, engaged (finally) “Santa Monica”. According to members of the audience who ignored the threat of rain in order to enjoy every last minute of nineties nostalgia, it was a more than perfect ending to the night.

Kate Kinman/ Columbus Wired

Photos by Jason Mowry/ Columbus Wired

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