Review: The Lemonheads, The Duchess, York

First published in Music news and reviews by

SOONER or later you have to give the audience what they want.

After leading his adoring fans a reckless, merry dance for years with just the rarest glimpses of genius, Evan Dando has presumably caved in to commercial pressure and is on the road recreating the landmark It’s A Shame About Ray album.

Best known for the hit version of Mrs Robinson (which never features in The Lemonheads’ setlists), this 1992 release was a tuneful milestone of the grunge era. The assembled throng cheered madly as a lank-haired Dando took to the stage.

Still handsome, the one-time poster boy of slackers looks to be slowly morphing into Jeff Bridges.

Playing rudimentary guitar and singing in a pretty wayward way, it appeared that Dando was psychologically elsewhere.

The set improved as guitarist Josh Lattanzi and drummer Brian Nolan joined, but there was still a gaping hole in the middle of the stage where the star should be.

As was the case with his December Leeds gig, it’s a shame that Dando wasn’t more in tune or communicative.

The abandon-seeking crowd seemed to forgive him as the trademark melodies flew over the three chord power pop. Some of the numbers still shone.

My Drug Buddy, Style and Alison’s Starting To Happen for example were honest, tuneful and upbeat – a winning combination with a darker lyrical content ignored at the time.

Yet devoid of stagecraft, the 75-minute, 24 hit barrage was a sorry reminder of the artistic waste that is Dando’s career and the audience got the songs they craved, but nothing more.

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