Tag Archives: Live

The Lemonheads: The Leadmill, Sheffield

You just don’t know where you are with Evan Dando. One minute you’re bouncing along to Alison’s Starting to Happen, wondering how he came up with the ‘she’s the puzzle-piece behind the couch that made the sky complete’ line, the next you’re shaking your head and waving an angry fist at the man for bailing after 55 minutes because he ‘had to drive to Manchester.’

Initially billed as a solo gig, then changed to a Lemonheads gig, it was fair to say nobody really knew what they were in for; especially since Dando alienated all his new fans by not playing a single song from the last album. After crashing through the It’s a Shame About Ray album in its entirety, ED treated us to a rendition of Danzig’s Skulls (the uninitiated thinking that Evan really did want to put their head on a wall), and, I believe, a Lucinda Williams cover, during which Dando appeared to tire of our presence. A wimpy Hospital convinced me. Evan wanted to crash through his setlist and leave. And he did just that. But not before a blistering Tenderfoot.

This was my sixth Dando concert. It was never going to reach the dizzy heights of the Manchester 2001 comeback gig (Ben Lee and Ben Kweller supporting), but, after the first half hour, I thought we were in for something special. Instead, Dame Loose Cannon scurried off the stage without so much as an encore or a ‘Gimme your hands, cos you’re wonderful!’ Okay, he did give somebody a pick, but that wasn’t helping me standing at the back where real heroes are made. Odd behaviour from a man who in the same venue last year wouldn’t even let a curfew or the constant threat of the dreaded houselights stop him from playing one more tune.

Evan, we paid to see you, captain. It’s about time you started showing us some respect. I’m getting down about it. You get paid to smile. If you carry on like this, I’m going to get a ceiling fan in my spoon.

Okay. That last one didn’t work.

(Reviewer: Drew Biggin)

The Weakerthans – Live at The Commodore

The Weakerthans

Dude. This was a classic.

First things first: FAR less beards at this gig than any of the others I’ve been to recently. Doesn’t mean beards are on the slide, perhaps this crowd came from a different part of town… the part of town where looking under 50 still matters.

Beards aside, the crowd were mainly students and 20 somethings mixed with ex-Winnipeggers cheering on their hometown heroes.  I assume it was a sellout, 1200 in attendance apparently.

The sound was once again wonderful. If only every band could play The Commodore Ballroom. The volume was set at a sweet level not requiring nuclear soundproofing.  I’m not getting old, I just don’t enjoy blood pouring out of my ears.  It was loud enough to tickle your fancy, but not so loud as to trouble your perm.

The support act were called The Last Town Chorus. Both sat sitting… long haired female singer with slide guitar and bespectacled beardy man with acoustic guitar. They played about 8 identical songs that were reminiscent of Clannad, Sinead, Kate Bush and All About Eve in the 80s. I wish I could say otherwise but these weren’t suitable songs for a live audience; they were self-indulgent clouds of cheap incense I’m afraid.  They were basically jerking off in front of strangers. Bless ’em.

The interlude was most welcome.

On roared The Weakerthans. They were good. I mean really fucking good.  A cotton candy infused rollercoaster ride of old and new, fast and slow pop songs. Punctuated with laughs, jokes and assorted banter. They came to have fun and didn’t disappoint. This is clearly a band who love being in a band. ALL of them. In stark contrast to the morose Built To Spill in the same hall last week.

There was much dancing around the stage, rock and roll guitar posing, knee to knee rock-offs and various other happenings that completely took me buy surprise. I didn’t expect them to be rock’n’roll at all. I expected fun and frivolous… and I guess I got that. To quote Marti DeBergi, “I got more, much more…”

I think everything they do is out of pure joy and not just part of some over-rehearsed rock show. They had the time of their lives up there. In particular (bass player) Greg Smith looked for all the world like he won a prize to go on tour with his favourite band.  

It was one long smile.

I didn’t make notes on the setlist but highs included the classic ‘Plea From A Cat Named Virtue’, massive singalong ‘One Great City’ (below) and the best track of the night – a raucous and full-on rendition of ‘Aside’.

Along with Roger Clyne this is the best live act on the road right now. Beg, borrow or sell cola at your local rodeo to see them.  New album ‘Reunion Tour’ is out now.

I found the above photo of the soundcheck at Flickr. If you have the setlist please post in the comments…

Just give ‘er.