I heard it on NPR: "The ’90s are back...or whatever." The ’90s meaning "the birth of grunge, the commercial rise of hip-hop, a batch of ballsy female songwriters, and a few goofy one-hit wonders we'd mostly forgotten about," said All Songs Considered.
That decade produced some pretty good music, and the Summerland Tour, which rolled through the San Diego County Fairgrounds, was proof of that. The four bands that played the Grandstand Stage were radio staples back in the day. Art Alexakis of Everclear and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray put together Summerland as a nod to the popular songs of the ’90s.
Lit, some heavily tatted Orange County punk rockers, got things going with raucous energy. "Lipstick & Bruises" simmered in the cool evening while new song "The Broken" was somber. But soon the catchy hits, "Miserable" and "My Own Worst Enemy," caught the crowd on fire.
The Gin Blossoms came up next and got the hits out in their half-hour set — "Found Out About You," "Allison Road," "Hey Jealousy" — plus a cool cover of the Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away."
Mark McGrath and Sugar Ray were a trip. The shades and alcohol buzz of McGrath only added to the Sugar Ray charm and they, too, brought out heavy hits, such as "Someday," "Every Morning," and "I Just Wanna Fly." Also, a cover of the Ramones’ "Blitzkrieg Bop" was entertaining.
Last but not least, Everclear brought ’90s heaven as the Portland-formed five-piece made nostalgia hip again. "So Much for the Afterglow" and "Everything to Everyone" were bummer songs that sounded great. New Everclear song “Be Careful What You Ask For" was crisp, and a gracious Art Alexakis closed out Summerland with an all-star band rendition of "Father of Mine." The Everclear frontman noted, "If your own family is messed up, find a new family with your friends."
Concert: Summerland Tour, featuring Lit, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray & Everclear
Date: July 2
Venue: San Diego County Fair Grandstand Stage
Seats: level 2, box 49A, row 1, seat 2