Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Lemonheads - The Astoria, London 4/5/91

Now this is special.  In spite of being a relatively average audience recording (sub-par for many in fact, even by the standards of Lemonheads enthusiasts), there are few recorded documents from the Lovey-era floating around, but this one is right in the very thick of it!  I guess I should reveal that Lovey (The 'heads fourth album), was my introduction to the music, wit, and occasionally wisdom of Evan Dando and his ever-rotating cast of bandmates.  Lovey has even further sentimental value to me, as a cassette copy was the first album that ever entered the well of the tape deck in my first car, a lousy, invariably un-reliable Plymouth Reliant. passed down to me by my Mother when I was in high school.  To this day, upon purchasing replacement vehicles (always pre-owned I might add), or simply swapping out my cars audio system, Lovely is the first album to penetrate any virgin in-dash (alright, that analogy was a little too over the top, but nonetheless right on the money).   It's a Shame About Ray may have represented the Lemonheads creative watershed, but Lovey brandished a good bit of the punk bravado and crushing power chords that made their three platters for Taang! Records such a kick.  The best of many worlds, and so many utterly great songs made the roster - "Stove," "Ride With Me," "Left for Dead," all of which are represented in this set, along with many other deep album cuts that haven't been performed live in nearly two decades, nor have been personally witnessed by these eyes and ears.  I desperately wish I could have attended this gig!

Along with a killer set list (which I'll refer to again in a moment) the Lemonheads on this particular night sounded positively on fire, playing for an audience that was likely more grateful and stoked than any outside of the trio's homebase of Boston, not to mention patient enough to indulge Dando in a bevy of covers.  It's common knowledge to longtime Lemonhead's fans that Evan is a ravenous aficionado of both Big Star, and alt-country pioneer Gram Parsons. On this occasion our man whips out choice selections by both, ("Nightime" and "A Song For You" respectively) that from what I can tell from having heard a decent stash of Lemonheads shows, neither are common fare.  In addition to those, he breathes unique life into Patty Loveless' "Night's Too Long" and Linda Ronstadt's "Different Drum," the latter of which has cropped up on several better documented live recordings.

In summation, along with the recording quality being what it is, there are some genuine flaws here, namely some very annoying speed fluctuations on "A Song For You" and "Hate Your Friends," and the opening number, "Sad Girl" inexplicably being spliced into separate tracks.  I made no attempts at correcting these, but if you have the time and resources by all means work your magic. 

01/02. Sad Girl
03. Left For Dead
04. Come Back D.A.
05. Glad I Don't Know
06. Come Downstairs
07. A Circle of One
08. Year of the Cat
09. Paint
10. Half the Time
11. A Song For You
12. Hate Your Friends
13. Mallo Cup
14. Ballarat
15. Out
16. Ride With Me
17. Stove
18. Die Right Now
19. Nightime
20. Night's Too Long
21. Different Drum
22. Rabbit



Jeremy Allison said...

Track 9 is called "Paint" and it's originally from a 10"/CD-EP called "Favorite Spanish Dishes".

Quite possibly my favorite Lemonheads song.

Here's the lyrics

spavid said...

Thanks! I heard this ep a long, long time ago, but never bought it. I knew it sounded vaguely familiar. Hats off to you.

biopunk said...

Cheers, spavid!

Matadors said...

Damn straight regarding Paint - such a class tune.

Pity the recording quality isn't any better because this has to be the ultimate Dando setlist.

Il Capo said...

Sounds nice, can't wait to download this. I was so lucky to see the Lemonheads in concert 3 times in the years 1990-1991.

"Favorite Spanish Dishes" is a great EP and a nice addition to Lovey.

Robert Cass said...

Spavid, I believe I still have a full Lemonheads concert from July 23, 1991, in Sydney, if you're interested in hearing it. I wonder if there are any existing bootlegs featuring the rhythm section of Byron Hoagland and Ben Daughtry, who replaced Jesse Peretz and David Ryan briefly in '90-'91 and who can be seen in the video for "Half the Time."