at ABC, Glasgow
17th October 2006
Review by Fiona Shepherd from The Scotsman
Scotland has always been a happy stomping ground for chief Lemonhead Evan Dando. Even when Dando's commercial - and, at times, personal - fortunes have been at their most chaotic, he has regularly showed up to play intimate, one-off solo shows, particularly in Glasgow, where he chose to perform last Hogmanay in the ABC's club space.
On this occasion, he packed out the main hall. It must be gratifying for Dando to know that he can count on a rammed venue more than a decade after his upbeat yet sensitive tunes ruled the student disco. Maybe it was the resurrection of the Lemonheads name that did it.
Since the late 1980s, Dando has effectively been the Lemonheads. But there have been no fellow Lemonheads for quite some time, so the prospect of a rockier arrangement of all those melodic grunge favourites may have been a nostalgic spur for the fans.
The new eponymous Lemonheads album features contributions from Garth Hudson of the band and Dando's grunge contemporary J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr and utilises the services of ex-Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez. But the bad news for the rather anonymous touring Lemonheads - bassist Josh Lattanzi and drummer John Kent - is that the most engaging portion of this comeback set has nothing to do with them. After a good 45 minutes of pacey yet rather diffident performance, Dando appeared to come to life during a solo acoustic interlude for which he had saved up two of his best-loved songs, Into Your Arms and Being Around. In contrast, the band renditions only muddied the melodic dynamism which is Dando's songwriting forte.
It was a fair set for nostalgists, with all the obvious indie hits featured, but hardly a stimulating return for the band.