Playing at SWG3– based in the West End, Glasgow’s inspiring creative arts centre- The Lemonheads (with the original 1986 line-up being Evan Dando, Ben Deily and Jesse Peretz) are an American alternative rock band. Reforming with a new line-up in 2005, The Lemonheads released their latest album, Varshons 2, in February 2019. Varshons 2 is a second collection of covers produced by New York based Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana and The Ramones). To celebrate this new album, the band have embarked on an epic three month UK, European and American tour (February-June).
Supporting The Lemonheads on their UK dates, Heyrocco are a South Carolina grunge rock trio made up of Nathan Merli, Christopher Cool and Tanner Cooper. Their jaggy DIY guitars, chilled vocals and well composed infectious beats, made for a really enjoyable set.
Heyrocco have a new single out now Destroyer – check it out https://spoti.fi/2N2BtZu
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Not so much 90s indie pin-up, Evan Dando appeared on stage looking more than a little dishevelled. His long bedraggled hair limping over his face, Evan gruffly led The Lemonheads on to the SWG3’s Galvanizers stage. Despite his aged appearance, Dando transported his crowd back in time 20ish years and opened with the light jangly guitar track Hospital from the 1996 album Car Button Cloth.
Crammed from wall to wall, the crowd welcomed fan favourite It’s a Shame About Ray taken from the 1992 album of the same name. Recorded at the band’s peak, this is undoubtedly one of their most popular tracks and from the crowd reaction one that many had come to the SWG3 to hear. Perhaps taking Dando back to happier times, this track was performed with something that resembled a smile.
The first cover of the night was Abandoned originally penned by American country and blues rock singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. This interpretation features on The Lemonheads’ new album Varshons 2. A short track delicately performed acoustically by Dando, a lullaby of emotion- the crowd sharply focused on the lyrical poetry.
“All of my love has been taken for granted
I’ve been fair, but you’ve been underhanded
I’ve been disgraced and I can’t bear to face it
‘Cause the truth is my heart has been abandoned
I was hoping for heaven, but baby I ain’t blind
This ain’t the first time I’ve been undermined
Sad eyes and a crooked smile that I remember well
Now it looks like all I got is time to kill”
Penned by Dando the 1990 track Left for Dead lifted the beat somewhat, yet the vulnerability in the lyrics kept the mood sombre.
‘Clang, bang, clang went the good guy at the door.
They put me in a cell with a concrete floor.
Wrapped a phone cord ’round my fist.
They abort my wrist and I cut where I kissed.’
Being Around, The Outdoor Type (Smudge cover), Why Do You Do This to Yourself? and Ride With Me, Streets of Baltimore (Tompall Glaser & The Glaser Brothers cover), and The Moon’s a Balloon (Eugenius cover) were performed by Dando and guitarist Chris Brokaw. A crowd pleaser- the acoustically performed Teenage Fanclub’s Ain’t That Enough received a rousing applause. The encore included a trip back to 1993 and the days of video tapes and MTV with the upbeat laid back sunny track Into Your Arms from the album Come on Feel the Lemonheads, as well as a cover from the anti-war film Hair written by musical theatre guru Galt MacDermot – the emotional, solo performed track Frank Mills.
Overall, The Lemonheads set was a pleasant enough nostalgic experience…a mixture of emotive and sensitively performed original tracks and thoughtfully considered covers. The breezily paced show with melancholoy undertones made for a serious and intense Saturday night show. Dando personal approach to the covers made for an interesting set. I really liked the raw country feel to many of the set tracks…dripping in dark vulnerability- Dando brooded an intimate atmosphere whereby the crowd- swaying in time together- stood with Dando as one. Yet, the frustrating feeling that Dando just wasn’t trying is long lingering- that is a shame, as the crowds are there for The Lemonheads– if only the band could squeeze out just a drop more passion…
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For future The Lemonheads tour dates click here…