sun 26/05/2019

The Lemonheads, Institute, Birmingham | reviews, news & interviews

The Lemonheads, Institute, Birmingham

The Lemonheads, Institute, Birmingham

The return of the erstwhile King of the Slackers, Evan Dando

Lemonheads' mainman Evan Dando

It has been three years since The Lemonheads, Evan Dando’s slacker kings, last toured the UK and six years since they released Varshons, a covers album. So it was a pleasant surprise when they recently announced a return to these shores to play some shows with no particular product to push, especially given that anyone might imagine that they had since long disappeared. Power pop with the odd dash of country and punk rock never goes out of fashion though, and in front of a room full of 30- and 40-somethings, the band dished out an evening of nostalgia that was enough to cast minds back to Dando’s golden years in the early 1990s and even encouraged a bit of enthusiastic slam dancing from a group of geezers who are really going to feel some bruises in the morning.

The Lemonheads stumbled on stage with Dando, guitarist Chris Brokaw and drummer Todd Philips looking like three car mechanics with their somewhat more glammed-up bassist Jen Turner and after an introduction of “We’re The Lemonheads from motherfuckin’ Boston”, broke into a crowd-pleasing set that had plenty smiling and swaying and a fair few singing along throughout. Opening with a shambling “Hospital” from the Car Button Cloth album and a beefed up “Down About It” from Come On Feel The Lemonheads, the set largely skipped the punk rock years of Hate Your Friends, Creator and Lick and was, for the most part, drawn from the band’s more melodic power pop years. The beautiful “It’s About Time” and a raw and distorted “Rick James Style” hit the spot before the band left the stage for Dando’s first solo spin of the evening. “Being Around”, “Into Your Arms” and “Frank Mills”, however, were sublime and Dando had many enthusiastically singing along as he strummed his guitar with eyes screwed tightly shut.

As the band returned to the stage to bring back some more volume to the proceedings, Dando attempted his only conversation of the evening by asking what day it was and then introducing the present incarnation of a band that has previously included such disparate individuals as former school mates and members of Dinosaur Jr and The Descendents. They then launched into lively versions of “Confetti” and “It’s A Shame About Ray” which finally got the crowd moving. This was followed by “The Great Big No” and more mellow “My Drug Buddy” before winding up with a climactic “Rudderless”, which again saw the crowd bouncing.

After a brief pause, the full band returned to the stage, launching into the charming “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You” and tonight’s only song from the band’s punky past, “Don’t Tell Yourself”. At which point, Dando was again left facing the audience on his own and gave a beautiful, if raw, take on “Divan” before slipping away from the lights and off the stage.

Power pop with the odd dash of country and punk rock never goes out of fashion

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters