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Evan Dando live at The Annandale Hotel, Sydney - 5th April 2009

Review by Matt James from thedwarf

“It’s About Time”, sings Evan Dando. Also, it’s about dinnertime on a Sunday evening, so it’s slightly unusual. We’re at The Annandale in Sydney and y’ know… there could be far worse places to be right now. This is pretty darn cruisy, whilst potentially quite special for ‘90s slackers. I even brought my cheap Panasonic Lumix camera just like three other people within five metres and their exact same camera. In fact there’s half-crap photography all round, plus the real stuff - and why? Because the Boston singer / songwriter / guitarist and man behind The Lemonheads, Mr. Evan Griffith Dando is in town, duh.

I’d read a few current Dando tour interviews and sure enough, certain aspects of those sprung true here. Starting with his promise to plough some of the best songs of a 23-year career thus far, then beginning each song just before the previous song’s applause peaks, making it a kind of “tantric sex” experience as the audience teeters on unfulfilled adoration. Hey, his theory, not mine. I don’t know about you and yours (or your Lumix), but with his other proposition of nerves being quite apparent, we’re feeling appreciative yet slightly bemused.

Every song is certainly well loved and reasonably well delivered but is it just me, or is Evan Dando like a rabbit in headlights up there? Is it possible to appear elegantly vulnerable? Or stoned immaculate? I’m wondering which spot on the ceiling he’s staring at ‘cos we’re still down here packed to the rafters, somewhat disconnected, on a nice sticky floor.

As Dando rolls out the tantric, we sway in silence ‘cos its way too quiet to sing along or jump around, mindful of how solo gigs can be daunting for most performers. Perhaps some audience interaction would help. Something’s got to give.

And then it happens. A rhythm section arrives… bass and drums. It’s just what the doctor ordered. Now Dando exhales, sharing the spotlight as part of another indie-rock 3-piece. Team spirit. At this point I can’t help wonder where some of the better cover songs are hiding considering his forthcoming covers record. Also, this is supposed to be a solo show but fuck it, now there’s a band on stage and it feels like a small party.

A quick session with that little line-up leads to another quick session with completely different line-up, finalized by a few hundred punters standing around quietly hoping for more. Not to be.

As far as music tantra goes, we witnessed plenty of foreplay followed by some sloppy sex. Not quite orgasmic, but a very good way to complete a weekend.

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