July 29, 2016
By Jeff Mozey
Photos by Jeff Mozey
The Return Of The 90s Nostalgic
With nostalgic 90's bands including Sponge, Lit, Everclear, and Sugar Ray, the SummerLand Tour made a stop at this year's Halfway Jam in Royalton, Minnesota. Halfway Jam is an annual outdoor music festival that takes place each July and usually lasts a few days. This year, Halfway was lucky enough to have the Summerland Tour make a stop on the second day of the festival.
The Summerland Tour started with the alternative rock band, Sponge. Wearing a giant chain necklace singer and founding member, Vinnie Dombroski greeted the audience and dove right into the band's set. Playing directly into the sun, Vinnie was sporting an open shirt, jeans, shades and the giant chain. His attire was appropriate for the hot temperature outside (besides the giant chain). Sponge ended the set with their 1994 hit "Plowed". Vinnie ended up standing on the barricade, singing into the crowd. I could see the excitement of the fans as Vinnie got right up next to them.
Opening up with "Ziplock" Fullerton California's Lit were the second act to perform during the Summerland Tour. The crowd immediately started to fill as the band continued to play. Halfway Jam had Lit take the stage last year and the response must have went well because here they are again. The energy of the band spread to the crowd and the excitement level increased as they performed. Singer A. Jay Popoff, really made an effort to interact with the crowd and the fans soaked up every second. During the final song in the set, "My Own Worst Enemy", A. Jay walked past the VIP crowd up front and stood on the barrier as he drank a beer and sang with the audience. Once back on the stage, Lit finished with A. Jay standing on guitar player Jeremy Popoff and Bass player Kevin Balds legs, creating the infamous Lit Pyramid.
The Summerland Tour was brought to life by lead vocalist Art Alexakis of Everclear. It would be a given that Everclear would be on this tour. Early on in the performance, Art yelled to the crowd "This is Minnesota, not Wisconsin. I want to hear you rock!". Following the large positive response, Everclear continued to perform hit songs such as "I Will Buy You A New Life", "Santa Monica", and their version of Van Mossison's" Brown Eyed Girl." Everclear sounded great and by the end of the performance, the sun had set and we were ready for Sugar Ray.
With multiple platinum albums and four top ten songs, Sugar Ray was here to finish off the party. Of all the artist who performed, vocalist Mark McGrath had the most to say to the crowd, from mentioning the smell of pot coming from below the stage, once knowing a girl from St. Cloud, to giving thanks to the people who have served in the military, the crowd ate it up. Some familiar tunes that had many singing along were "Someday", "Every Morning" and" Fly". But what surprised me was when Sugar Ray performed "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. It was definitely unexpected, so props to them. The group also made the set interesting by performing part of Sublimes "What I Got" and a very tight version of EMF's "Unbelievable". It was a fantastic way to spend the day and I hope to see another Summerland tour in 2017!
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