It's a Shame About Evan…

by: Al Batross at Esquires
It takes an artist of reputation to fill Esquires on a Tuesday night, and Evan Dando, he of Lemonheads and extreme substance abuse fame, did just that.
At first, it felt like a night out in Nottingham, so high was the girl count, pressed hard against the barrier down the front. Dando’s somewhat understated entrance was matched only by his exit, with the singer saying goodnight and announcing he was ‘not getting on’ with his guitar, only to rather bizarrely return with an acoustic, only to leave again and return with his original guitar.
The Boston-born indie legend rattled through his set, playing (although not quite as we might have heard them before) tracks but rarely finishing any of what must have been about thirty songs, all played solo on an electric guitar through what could have been a house amp (which needed changing at the halfway mark). Stood in a classic indie shoe gaze pose, Dando didn’t disappoint a room full of fans… not quite hanging on his every word, but happily nodding and singing along nonetheless.
The room got louder as more tracks started to register as the set list ventured into ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’ territory… One fan, clearly not ‘getting’ the mood of the evening, muttered: ‘Will he do Mrs Robinson?’. Unfortunately, the cover he is most famous for (the tune tagged onto the re-release of ‘Ray, much to Dando’s annoyance) didn’t get an airing tonight but, amongst others, the indie-disco floor filler, ‘Confetti’, did. Another highlight was ‘Style’, from the follow up Album, ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’, which encapsulated the mood of the evening perfectly with it’s line: “But I don’t wanna get stoned, I don’t wanna not get stoned”.
At times it felt like peering in through the curtains, so rehearsal-like was the set. Dando took to a stool for the final few tunes during a couple of encores… perhaps a tad tired, stoned, or he might have had to return the guitar strap, we don’t know. But the man voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People, back in ’92, at the height of his powers, certainly kept our attention.
At times, it may not have been clear to him where he was, so let’s just hope Dando managed to find his way back to the Manton Lane Travelodge.

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