Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"If I was a dancefloor, would you shake your thang?"

The Lemonheads @ Manchester Academy 2 (16.10.06)

I make no secret of the fact that I'm a big fan of Evan Dando. As far as I'm concerned, the man can do no wrong. In fact, my Evan worship stretches to wanting to call my first-born son after him. I can't see me having kids for a while yet, but the kid's going to have that name for the rest of its life, so it has to be a good one and it has to have some kind of meaning.

The root of my Dando fandom lies in the fact that he is a survivor. I've got a big admiration for people who go through the usual rock 'n' roll mill of drug/drink addiction and bad times and come out the other side pretty much unchanged and seemingly unaffected by what they've been through. They don't go on about it and they don't let it inform their output any more than it already did anyway. I have the same admiration for Nick Cave.

While Dando is not in the same songwriting league as Cave (not many working writers are), there's still a certain affable effervescence and youthfulness about his music and live performances to suggest that he'll probably carry on doing this for many years to come. And tonight's gig was a fine example of said effervescence as Dando and his bandmates (the rhythm section from The Descendents) rattled through hit after hit after hit, halting the momentum every so often to plug the patchy new record.

Of the ones we know and love, we were treated to the likes of 'Down About It', 'The Great Big No', 'It's A Shame About Ray', 'The Outdoor Type', 'Bit Part', the list goes on, the crowd singing along with every word; a fact that Dando clearly enjoyed, going off the dopey, stoner smile he sported all night. He even livened up the much-maligned acoustic bit with a blast of 'Into Your Arms' and the obligatory Gram Parsons cover (a beautiful 'A Song For You').

The band broke the curfew with an extended encore that contained a fiery 'Rudderless' and a bouncy run-through of 'If I Could Talk I'd Tell You'. It was a joyous set from a man who, despite his age and his troubled past, is clearly revitalised and loving not having to prove himself anymore. I may not be the best person to view a Lemonheads gig from a critical standpoint, given my confession at the start of this review, but with music this vital and life-affirming, you have to admit that it'd be pretty impossible to fuck up the live show. Disappointment was never an issue and tonight was certainly no letdown.


Blogger Tim said...

If I was a haircut, would you wear a hat?

Bloody hell. I'd like to have seen that.

V. good to see you again on Monday. Well done and all that.

1:02 am  
Blogger James said...

And well done to you too. I'm sure we'll meet again sometime, seeing as Kate has another blog meet lined up for next month.

It wasn't the best time I'd seen The Lemonheads. They were better on the Car Button Cloth tour, but it was still a very good night indeed.

5:49 pm  

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