Shots by Josh Braybrook
Evan Dando has still got it.
Last Thursday was the final leg of The Lemonheads’ Australian tour which ended as a night of ‘90s nostalgia at The Corner. The Bostonian alt-rockers have been around for over 30 years, which was definitely reflected in the average age in the crowd who’ve grown up with Evan Dando – a noticeable difference was that those fans were now armed with smartphones to record their favourite frontman.
With the band shrouded in darkness for the duration of the performance, it was clear this was the Evan Dando show more than anything. After more than 20 bandmates, five labels and three decades, Dando remains the sole original member of The Lemonheads.
The set went by in the blink of an eye with barely a break between songs. Dando barely spoke between songs and only gave a brief acknowledgement that he was happy to be back a few songs in; he seemed keen to pump through as many songs as possible in his hour-long slot.
The Lemonheads are no strangers to performing in Australia and their 1992 album It’s A Shame About Ray, was loosely inspired by a trip Dando took Down Under. Judging by the age of the drummer in Dando’s rhythm section, he probably wasn’t even born when the album was released but that didn’t stop him hitting the notes and getting bubblegum pop vibe down pat on the title track. ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ really got the crowd going and by this point, people couldn’t keep their eyes of Dando – his ability to recapture the form that first shot him to stardom was impressive. The joyous nostalgia felt by the crowd continued with tracks like ‘Bit Part’ and ‘Being Around’ before Dando played a few new tracks off his 2019 album, Varshons 2.
The jam-packed hour-long set illustrated why The Lemonheads have managed to hang around for such a long time. Dando also reminded us why he’s a wonderful guitarist, taking the audience on an emotional ‘90s-throwback journey. Whether you were there for the original songs or the carefully-selected covers, it was a gig fit for both old and new fans. Notable mention goes to New York warm-up act The Restless Age who are a band to watch.
Lowlight: ‘It’s About Time’ – a few off notes.
Highlight: ‘Bit Part’ – the perfect ‘90s singalong.
Crowd favourite: ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ – clear winner by the smiles in the crowd.