Evan Dando first burst into the mainstream fronting the Boston band the Lemonheads as the ’90s stalwarts’ singer, songwriter and guitarist—and occasionally as their drummer. Landing in the sweet spot between indie rock and melodic punk, the prolific group put out seven full-length albums between 1987 and 1996 before going on an extended hiatus two years later. Eventually they’d get back together, but before doing so, Dando (above, performing “Hard Drive” live in New York City), mixing power pop and country-rock, put out his solo debut LP, Baby I’m Bored (stream it below), in 2003. “Lots of low-key, three-chord songs, sung in his achingly lovely voice and lasting not a second more than need be,” according to AllMusic. “Even if it seems unassuming and underwhelming upon its first listen, Baby I’m Bored with each spin reveals the uniform strength of the songs and the sweet, understated charms of Dando as a performer.” Earlier this year, on Record Store Day, the album was reissued with the addition of outtakes, covers and B-sides. “The songs on Baby I’m Bored show an artist venturing deeper into himself than ever before to produce some of his most magnetic, vulnerable work,” says Paste. “Once the needle hits the record, it’s hard to imagine any committed listener turning away.” And to celebrate the album’s reissue, Dando plays The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night. Another Boston singer-songwriter, Jason Lowenstein, opens the show.
Tag Archives: Evan Dando
It took some time for Fountains of Wayne and Soul Asylum to achieve their deserved mainstream success. The former had already released two highly acclaimed power-pop albums before 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers launched them into the mainstream, thanks to the smash single “Stacy’s Mom.” The latter were alt-rock critical favorites in the ’80s, but hit the big time with 1992’s hit-filled Grave Dancers Union, which included “Runaway Train.” And while it would be easy for the two bands to rest on their laurels, they continue to make new music and tour: Fountains of Wayne (above, doing “Hey Julie”) released Sky Full of Holes (stream it below) in 2011, and Soul Asylum (below, performing “Black Gold”) put out Delayed Reaction (stream it below) last year. And the two bands have teamed up—alongside Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando—to play the Capitol Theatre tonight, the Space at Westbury on Friday and Webster Hall on Saturday.
Tags: Delayed Reaction, Evan Dando, Fountains of Wayne, Grave Dancers Union, Preview, Sky Full of Holes, Soul Asylum, the Lemonheads, Video, Welcome Interstate Managers
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Evan Dando – Mercury Lounge – March 7, 2010
It was close to 1 a.m. at Mercury Lounge when Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando hurried onstage, mumbling about a flight from Seattle and apologizing for being late, unwittingly living up to the slacker image branded upon him during his ’90s heyday. He promised to make it up to the sold-out crowd and strapped on his guitar, beginning with “The Outdoor Type”—from the Lemonheads’ 1996 album, Car Button Cloth—a tune filled with his straightforward, self-deprecating lyrics. The crowd was charmed by song’s end and Dando’s tardiness was forgiven in just two minutes.
Performing as a solo artist seemed liberating and challenging for Dando. He reached deep into the corners of his catalog, honoring requests from the crowd left and right (“Hospital,” “Hard Drive”). Although he did appear uncomfortable at times. But unlike with his nervous stage banter, Dando eloquently expressed his thoughts though his lyrics. Without the fanfare of a backing band, such Lemonheads favorites as “My Drug Buddy,” “Being Around” and “Great Big No” seemed a bit more melancholy, with the lyrics at the forefront and the emphasis on Dando’s evocative, at times weary voice. Songs like “Great Big No” and “Bit Part” felt even more poignant after an offhand, awkward mention of his recent separation from his wife.
By nearly 2:30, the crowd had thinned considerably, yet Dando was still going strong. But it was unclear whether he was simply making good on his promise to deliver a worthwhile show or if he was actually working over some personal issues through his music. Dando closed the show with the possibly appropriate “Rudderless,” in which he compared himself to a directionless ship. —Alena Kastin
The Lemonheads – The Bowery Ballroom – June 25, 2009
“This show is for Michael,” announced Evan Dando, front man of the Lemonheads, as he began his show at The Bowery Ballroom last night. The shock of Michael Jackson’s death had certainly turned it into a surreal day, and Dando and his band were probably feeling a lot like the rest of us: a bit dazed, incredulous, nostalgic, sad. And then here we were at a rock show. Luckily the Lemonheads were able to provide us all with a much needed escape.
After treating the crowd of devoted fans to their old-school hits like “My Drug Buddy” and “It’s a Shame About Ray,” a man in front of me proclaimed, “I remember seeing them in Boston in ’87!” I imagine that hearing the Lemonheads’ bright, poppy, alterna-grunge live onstage likely evoked some fond flannel-and-Doc Martens memories for many others present as well.
Following a version of “Into Your Arms” with a more upbeat and aggressive edge than on Come On Feel the Lemonheads, the band left the stage and Dando performed a string of solo songs, including the melancholy numbers “The Outdoor Type” and “Being Around.” Lit by a spotlight at the side of the dark stage, he delivered the songs’ wry lyrics with his clear, deep voice and his signature relaxed—almost lethargic—cadence. Time may have passed since these songs were written, but thankfully Dando’s music (not to mention his grunge-era T-shirt, shaggy hair and modest, effortlessly cool persona) manages to transition comfortably into the new decade. —Alena Kastin