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Lemonheads live at Palladium Ballroom, Dallas TX
10th February 2007

Review by Teresa Gubbins from Star Telegram

In what felt like the antithesis of prefab popular music these days, the Lemonheads headlined an amusingly unpredictable, unkempt bill at the Palladium Ballroom on Saturday, with supporting acts Vietnam and The Hero Factor.

Compared with the packaged dullness of most contemporary bands -- even younger "punk" acts such as Fall Out Boy, whose routine stays the same -- the Lemonheads seemed ready to implode. The sometimes petulant ways of singer Evan Dando put the show on edge right from the start. But that is no complaint. Dando was always engaging, whether impatient with an out-of-tune guitar or strumming it blissfully.

Staying on the brink of chaos without it turning into a shtick is no easy feat; it keeps a performance feeling authentic. Dando's efforts to that end, as well as his juxtaposition of fragility and perfection, have made him a cult hero since he sprang from Boston's '80s pop-punk scene. He experienced mainstream success in the early '90s, thanks to his cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson; but he has also struggled with addiction.

This tour, to promote a new self-titled CD whose smart, countryish pop has received lots of good reviews, marks his latest comeback. Joined by Vess Ruhtenberg on bass and Devon Ashley on drums, Dando raced through his catalog, incorporating songs from the new disc, such as Let's Just Laugh,with older tracks, including Mad from the Lemonheads' 1988 release Lick. It's a song he doesn't play often and one that surely pleased the crowd of about 500, many of whom were veteran music fans -- a fact he graciously acknowledged.

"That one is for the kids -- or, rather, the old people," he said.

GRADE: B+

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