TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY
Terrific double bill at the Bluebird Theatre that offered up some serious nostalgia for folks who were going to shows in the 80’s and early 90’s (*raises hand*). Also I would imagine that Evan Dando was listening to plenty of Replacements (Mr. Stinson’s band, as you all well know) back when he formed The Lemonheads as a frothy, buzzsaw punk band in the mid-80’s so I’m imagining it was somewhat of an honor for him to have Tommy open up.
Stinson hit the stage promptly at 8 PM with a nice acoustic guitar and dressed to the nines in a sharp fedora and a new pair of glasses (as he stated to the crowd, “not just bifocals but trifocals! I’m still getting used to these things…I can’t see shit right now!”). He didn’t play any Replacements songs (much to the dismay of a few annoying folks in the crowd) but did play a handful of cuts off his Bash & Pop records including a superb set-ending version of “Friday Night is Killing Me” (title track of the debut).
Also, it wouldn’t have be a Tommy Stinson set it he wasn’t a little tipsy (he was) but the crowd loved it and loved it even more when he jumped down to play a song down on the floor in the crowd. Come on back to town anytime, Tommy.
I didn’t know what this version of the Lemonheads was going to offer, but I sure was curious. In addition to Evan Dando on vocals/guitar he had longtime indie rock vet Chris Brokaw on 2nd guitar and the rhythm section of Farley Glavin on bass and powerhouse drummer Lee Falco hittin’ the skins. These guys were like a well-oiled machine on this night.
There was a long set list but it didn’t matter as they really didn’t follow it, but most of the set was heavy on early 90’s albums It’s a Shame About Ray and Come On Feel the Lemonheads which is fine as there’s plenty of meat on those records.
There wasn’t a lot of in-between song chatter, more of them putting their heads down and going to work, playing songs in rapid succession with not a lot of time in between. We heard fan favorites like “It’s About Time,” “Rudderless,” “Confetti,” “Turnpike Down,” “Great Big No,” “Drug Buddy” and plenty more.
They also played a handful of covers off of the new album (Varshons 2, which is an all covers album and was recently released on Fire Records) like Lucinda William’s “Abandoned” and John Prince’s “The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” to name but two.
I know in the past Lemonheads’ live shows could be dodgy affairs depending on what state Dando was in but on this night there was none of that. As mentioned above he only mumbled a handful of words to the crowd, he/they came to play. The songs sounded great and Dando’s voice still sounds superb. If they come to your town do not miss them (‘cos if you do you’ll hear from your friends about how great of a show it was).