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Art Alexakis: Sun Songs Tour

Art Alexakis: Sun Songs Tour
Motorco Music Hall
Durham, NC

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Art Alexakis, the frontman for the band Everclear, has had the idea of a solo album for quite some time, but with obligations of family and making music for the full band, the side project has been delayed multiple times. But over the course of the last couple of years, Art was able to realize the efforts in making a solo album, and in October 2019, Sun Songs was released via The End Records. Art takes pride in the album, in which he wrote all the songs, provided all the vocals, and played all the instruments recorded on the album. The solo album features 11 tracks, which include various themes including loves songs for his wife and youngest daughter, socio-political topics, and life topics in general.  The single, “The Hot Water Test”, was released on Billboard when the album debuted. The single is about his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and how the disease has changed his life and the changes he’s had to make. Art publicly announced his diagnosis on social media in March 2019. 

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But that hasn’t stopped the 57-year-old rocker from embarking on a solo tour to promote his new album. There are still a few more stops for his solo tour before the full band returns to Australia for a three-week mini-tour in February 2020 and a full summer tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Songs from an American Movie. 

I arrived in Durham early to beat the traffic and as I pulled into the lot, fans were already lined up to make sure they got the best spot by the stage for when doors opened at 7 pm at the Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC. Through a cracked door, I could hear Art sound checking and singing “Strawberry”, a song about drug addiction. I still had some time to kill so I hopped across the street for some good BBQ eats. 

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At 8 pm, the show kicked off with opener,  Andrew Winter, from Burlington NC. His set was filled with heartfelt songs with a mixture of rock, punk rock, and catchy guitar rhythm and riffs. As his set went on, the floor seats started filling up to get ready for Art Alexakis’ appearance.

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Around 9:00, Art took the stage, with thunderous applause from the crowd. Art acknowledged the crowd of about 150 in the seated music hall and started off with “Songs from an American Movie” from his setlist. Last year, Art did a tour called Songs and Stories, which was like a solo tour, but he also had the lead singers from Eve 6, Fountains of Wayne, and Marcy’s Playground to support him on that tour. Art told this crowd, this show wasn’t going to be anything like the Songs and Stories tour, because he wasn’t going to be telling all the stories behind his songs. As the concert went on, Art did do a little bit of storytelling behind some of the songs, which was pretty cool, since he did play several new songs off his solo album, so having a little bit of context behind the songs was great.

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I’ve been a fan of Everclear since the mid-’90s, and have attended nearly 40 Everclear and Art solo tours through the years. Not every concert has been the best, but Art’s voice really filled the room and resonated within. Art played fan favorites throughout the evening, including “I Will Buy You a New Life”, “Father of Mine”, “Wonderful”, and of course closing with “Santa Monica”. We were also treated with other songs like “Loser Makes Good”, “Heartspark Dollarsign”, “Everything to Everyone”, and “Strawberry”. He filled his set with songs off his solo album including, “Sunshine Love Song”, “The Hot Water Test”, and “Sing Away”, in which the last song he said is the saddest and most depressing song you will ever hear. It’s a song from the perspective of the parents of a bullied child and the realities of today’s youth and what they go through.

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After the set ended with “Santa Monica”, Art took a five-minute break and came back out and took requests from the audience. He took a seat at the front of the stage and fans lined up in the middle of the concert hall to ask Art questions and request a song. This was an interesting part of the show because Art has decades worth of songs, so not every request was honored because let’s face it if you don’t play a song regularly, it’s possible you forget your own lyrics and even how to play it. However, many requests were honored, including snippets of “Heroin Girl”, “Thrift Store Chair”, “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore”, “Sunflowers”, and “Amphetamine”. One lady asked for “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom”, and Art agreed to play that if she could find 3 other ladies to sing on stage while he played it. It really didn’t take that long to find a few willing participants. Additionally, a special request was for a song from Art’s original band, Colorfinger. That song was “Eleanor Young”. After the request portion, the show ended and Art made his way to the merch counter to talk to fans and sign autographs and take pictures. 

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There are only a few solo tour dates left so try to catch Art Alexakis while you can. It’s never too late to buy Sun Songs, and I encourage you to give the solo album a listen. 

See full gallery of the night here!

Richard Thigpen is a professional photographer, whose admiration for the combination of music and photography dating back over 20 years. His talent for music photography began when the opportunity made it possible to fuel the passion, whether it be at a local music venue or large outdoor music festival. Richard’s music portfolio has well exceeded hundreds of live concert coverage, which has given him visibility and opportunities to shoot for national magazines and promoters. When not behind the camera, Richard stays busy with his wife and two children, and playing competitive table tennis. One of Richard’s most memorable music moments is playing “Santa Monica” on guitar with his favorite band, “Everclear”, in the summer of 2003 at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

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