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Evan Dando live at the Anson Rooms, Bristol - 13th May 2003

Review by Krissi Murison of NME

“Can you hear the beats fucking with your head?” Evan Dando strides on as a freeform jazz backing track plays, all lips and fringe, cigarette in one hand, non-alcoholic Budweiser in the other. Standing there, casually smoking, he looks at least a decade younger than his 36-year-old history of heroin, Courtney Love and Glastonbury campsite rampages should permit.

Tuning up an acoustic guitar, he launches into the solo repertoire of his life. The emphasis is on his time fronting early-‘90s folk-pop grungers The Lemonheads, but it’s when he strips down to a black T-shirt, calls up his band, plugs into the mains and rushes into material from his first new album in seven years, ‘Baby I’m Bored’, that you can tell he’s a man truly back from the brink.

Written under clean and monogamous conditions, the new songs show an elegiac mellowness more closely indebted to his heroes Gram Parsons and Neil Young than his early slacker-rock incarnation. ‘Hard Drive’ is a beautifully sunburnt, porch-rockin’, high-season epic, while ‘All My Life’ is the kind of song even Cradle of Filth could fall in love to.
Today, more than ever, there is something strangely spiritual about Evan Dando, something deeper than a perfectly chiselled cherubic face or years of outer-wordly drug-induced philosophy can produce. Underneath all that, there’s the soul of a survivor.

 


Review by “Marky Sparky” from whatsonbristol

Much has been written lately about how this dippy-hippy pin-up Lemonheads singer has returned to the spotlight after splitting up the band on stage at Reading Festival in 1997.

Dando himself hasn't been backward about coming forward about lurid tales of troilism, wasted days, the needle and the damage done. Time spent with Courtney Love, Oasis and Marianne Faithful and their various hangers-on didn't exactly lead him back on the straight and narrow either. But he didn't disappear. For the die-hards he was still there crafting the beautiful songs that have just turned up on his first official solo album: Baby I'm Bored. Moving on from Gram Parsons and thanks in part to Calexico, you can now say that he's got a sound of his own. And that sound filled the Anson Rooms last Tuesday.

Support was from Aussies You Am I and Pieces, who were apparantly really good, but we missed them due to a combination of bad timing and a very under-staffed student bar. There seemed to be more beefy rugger-bloke security guys than bar-staff. Hey guys, this was Evan Dando not Mudvayne or Amen. We're lovers not fighters, nodders not moshers. While we're queuing The Vines are singing "I wanna Get Free", but at the Anson Rooms we're all groaning together; "I wanna Get Served".

So, thirstily we shuffled in to see the first appearance of Evan Dando in Bristol for donkey's years. Starting solo, with just a guitar for company, Outdoor Type gave the tufty-beardy students a chuckle and My Drug Buddy gave them an anthem. Then three scruffy slackers walked on, plugged in a bass and a guitar and with a Dinosaur Jr behind the drum kit boosted up the Dando sound so that if you closed your eyes - you were back in the tardis dropping in on a Lemonheads gig in 1992.

New stuff like Waking Up came alive and old stuff like Down About It sounded fresher than ever. The two Ben Lee compositions: All My Life and Hard Drive, both on the new album are two of the best songs you will ever hear, trust me, but get yourself someone to fall in love with before you do. They won't disappoint you - nor your lover. Ask your Mum about Frankie's The Power of Love or Soft Cell's Torch and what they meant to her and you get the idea.

After a back and forth mix of his best back catalogue, Evan and the band ended with the peerless Rudderless, "A ship without a rudder's like a ship without a rudder's like a ship without a rudder" and then returned for a solo encore of Lucinda Williams' Like A Rose and his own Being Around.
Just as the baked bean butty crew were returning home to halls, the blokes who looked nearly as slack as them returned to belt out "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You" to royally send us home totally happy. Evan Dando is back, but don't believe me - check him out for yourself - Baby I'm Bored on Setanta Records.


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