The Lemonheads @ The Venue, Derby

Evan Dando

A mixture of nostalgia and intrigue brought me to see The Lemonheads. Twenty years on from the initial release of It’s A Shame About Ray, I was interested in:

  • How the music would hold after such a long time
  • How Evan Dando’s voice would sound after such a long time
  • Whether they would play ‘Mrs. Robinson’ or not

We’ll have more on that, later.

I had already seen support band, Derby’s own The Fontana Instincts, at a previous show and the band have continued to pique my interest. Coming across as “The Dandy Warhols Go Country”, the group have a good deal of charisma and – if given the recognition they deserve – will go far and play to much bigger audiences in the future. Go to their Facebook page to hear the song ‘Night and Day’.

Strangely enough, it seemed as though Evan Dando supported himself at this show. Coming on the stage in a very low-key fashion, we were treated to a three song acoustic pre-show. A mixture of solo material and The Lemonheads’ back catalogue, it was wonderful hear that Dando’s voice was in great condition – it looked set to be a great night.

The rest of the band came on and the trio launched into the opening track from It’s A Shame About Ray, the melancholic beauty that is ‘Rockin Stroll’. The show seemed like a bit of a relentless onslaught at times, what with Dando refusing to speak (apart from the occasional ‘Thank you very much’ and a mumbled something-or-other before ‘Bit Part’) and the seamless merging of some of the songs. The whole of It’s A Shame About Ray came and passed us by in no time at all.

In a bit of light relief, Evan went solo again to give us a few more gems from the Lemonhead vault. I dare say that Evan could have been on his own for the whole show and the audience wouldn’t have minded at all, especially considering the reception they gave him. Plus, his voice was almost as good now as it was on record twenty years ago. Very enchanting.

The night ended with a bit of a splutter, however. The band simply walked off, having not played some of their biggest hits – songs like ‘Mrs. Robinson’, ‘Big Gay Heart’ and ‘Into Your Arms’ – some people were left a bit disappointed. At one point, the bassist came back on to give out a couple of setlists and could be seen shrugging his shoulders and saying “sorry”.

There’s nothing to be “sorry” for, really. Evan and the boys were in fine form at The Venue – one person even remarked that it was “the best concert I’ve ever been to”. I can’t disagree with a statement like that.


My Drug Buddy
Being Around
Bit Part
Rockin Stroll
My Idea
Hannah and Gabi

We're looking for writers and editors to join the team. Interested? Apply today!