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Evan Dando live at The Duchess, York
6th August 2008

Review by Danielle Millea from egigs

The Duchess is the new venue from the people behind Fibbers, one of York's classic venues. The idea was to provide York with a larger venue, and here they have succeeded. Situated just above Fibbers on Stonebow, this basement venue has a relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of seating for a chilled out vibe.

And what better music to have accompany the vibe then the power pop of The Lemonheads, performed here by frontman Evan Dando and his lone guitar. To warm things up first is local lad Stuart Allan, member of The Blueprints. His high warble is ok, but not enough to keep many of the crowd at the back interested (that's a problem with comfy seats; you just want to chill and chat to your mates). He renames a song 'Protest Song', to have a go at the sudden downpour that hit only York this afternoon and caused flooding and chaos. 'Our Worksong' is quite an anthem song...

The more established Frank Turner is on next, and wakes up the stragglers at the back with his powerful voice, left over from the punk days as part of Million Dead. 'Substitute' we are told is not the Who song but an acoustic song about love and music. Chucking Jimmy Cliff's 'In The Jungle' into 'Romantic Fatigue' is a good laugh, especially for those of us still discovering The Turner, and 'The Ballad Of Me And My Friends' is a rousing song to end on.

I have noticed Evan Dando wandering about the venue all night, but not dared to talk to him for nerves (I am a big Lemonheads fan). Not leaving the grungy style in the nineties and dressed in a woollen hat (it is really warm down here) he takes to the stage on time (there have been times he hasn't; he doesn't like sound checks or interviews or anything really). No introduction (though he doesn't need one) or hello, it's straight into 'Confetti', followed by 'It's A Shame About Ray'. From then on the songs follow the order of most of the Ray album, like the recent setlist for the Truck festival, with only 'Rockin Stroll', 'Ceiling Fan in My Spoon' and 'Mrs Robinson' missing.

Then it's onto many tracks from 'Come On Feel' and 'Car Button Cloth', a real trip through the Lemonheads' greatest hits. A cover of The Misfits' 'Skulls' is strangely wonderful as an acoustic track ("I want your skulls!"), especially delivered by Dando.

The set itself is bursting with hits, it's just the delivery that's a bit crappy. Dando only mutters one thing; "Thank You" halfway through the hour long show, the rest of the time rushing through the songs, mashing them together like a DJ on the decks. The timing seems a little rushed at times, and Dando appears to be giving the crowd what they want but not what he wants, but when you have already produced this quality of song writing you can do what you like...

All in all I enjoyed the songs, even if it seemed like Dando couldn't be arsed and just played what we wanted to hear. The back to back tracks from 'It's A Shame About Ray' were a real treat. The additions of Dando's own songs like 'Hard Drive' are nice to hear too, showing he still has what it takes to write a catchy pop tune.


Setlist:
Confetti
It's A Shame About Ray
Drug Buddy
The Turnpike Down
Bit Part
Alison's Starting to Happen
Hannah & Gabi
Rudderless
Kitchen
Hard Drive
Frank Mills
Being Around
The Outdoor Type
Tenderfoot
Repeat
Hospital

The Great Big No
Into your Arms
Down About It
Divan
Style
Skulls
Big Gay Heart

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