The Lemonheads @ Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 5/12/2019

It was a Thursday night and Adelaide was literally buzzing with all the live music options on offer. For me I couldn’t go past The Lemonheads who played the front room of Lion Arts Factory. Surprisingly I would have thought with the fact that Evan Dando was in town that would have drawn a much bigger crowd. The staging was basic and the lighting was quite sparse more akin to a local pub gig which seemed to suit The Lemonheads vibe. This ended up being one of those gigs where you just had to be there as they were in cracking form.

The Lemonheads had a new album in tow (their tenth) Varshons 2 which is an interesting mix tape revealing a broad palette of interests which worked their way in to tonight’s set. Speaking of the set list, things moved along at a frenetic pace and as soon as one song finished they were literally launching right in to the next one. There were plenty of smiles on stage, the mood was good and Dando seemed in really good spirits commenting later on that he was having a lot of fun. No doubt the low key vibe of the show was significant.

For the fans there was plenty to salivate over with a solid representation of The Lemonheads back catalogue. Early songs in the set which grabbed the faithful included the likes of opener It’s About Time, Break Me, Down About It and The Great Big No. Covers Speed of the Sound of Loneliness (John Prine), Round Here (Florida Georgia Line) and My Idea (Chris Brokaw) were great inclusions. The crowd lifted and responded to the popular It’s a Shame About Ray as they did for the Lucinda William’s cover Abandoned.

Set staples Bit Part, Rudderless, Hannah & Gabi and Big Gay Heart were fantastic as Dando and company roared through these classics at break neck speed. The Smudge cover Tenderfoot was a pleasant surprise.

The real magic of this show was Dando’s solo acoustic set. Wow! This was so good and whilst the full electric set was fantastic I think most would have been equally as satisfied with a full show of Dando acoustic gems. Plenty of highlights right from Being Around to Man Out of Time (Elvis Costello & The Attractions) to Into Your Arms and Billie Holiday’s Gloomy Sunday.

The band returned to the stage to join Dando for what was the encore. At this point Dando was right on top of his game even saying how fun this. This would be right up there as the best I’ve seen him play. The first song was Waking Up but the next one blew our collective minds. A few fans shouted out at different stages of the set for Mrs Robinson which rarely gets played but holy smokes it did tonight. What a crowd response! Mrs Robinson was brilliant and an absolute show topper. That could have quite easily been the exit point. The night came to an end on My Drug Buddy which wrapped up what was a really good show.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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