Lemonheads live at 9:30 Club, Washington DC - November 1990
Review by Jon Wiederhorn from Melody Maker
Evan Dando is a confused hippy.
He slumps his shoulders, slurs his words, wears love beads and loosely fitting
(not baggy) clothing, and speaks softly and tentatively. The sticker on his
guitar reads, "Mom and Dad, I use drugs." (Yeah, like we couldn't
tell.) He looks like a deadhead and plays heartfelt folk rock, then just as
he's in the middle of a tender strum, he tears into something monstrously
heavy and distorted. That's what's so great about Lemonheads. They stroke
the mind lovingly, then shred it to ribbons. But even at their most
violent, their compelling folkiness remains, drawing the listener ever closer to the spinning blades.
Dando's new line-up couldn't be
sharper. Bassist Byron Hoagland is short and stocky. He looks like a lumberjack
and sways like a rusty weathervane. Drummer Ben Doughtry, meanwhile, sports
shit-eating grin, and beats his kit into f"'ing oblivion, blowing everyone's mind with his articulate, perfectly timed fills. He's either insanely happy or just plain insane. Probably the latter, since his smile widens and his eyes narrow menacingly as the band break into "Ballarat", their eye-gouging ode to Charles Manson.
The crowd tonight are a mixed batch:
half die-hard punkers half Robert Smith wanabees. And the band's constant
trade-off between mellow and maleficent only adds to the confusion. In the
middle of the ass-kicking "Left For Dead" a lone skinhead dives
head-first from the stage into a gathering of art-fags. They
scatter, and he hits the cement with a heavy thud.
Seconds later Lemonheads are playing the tender, touching "Ride With Me", then the schizophrenic "Half The Time" which is half soothing folk, half whiplash thrash.
While their licks are fairly standard, the band's presence is intriguing and their arrangements are unique and appealing.