Review of Lemonheads
live at The Whisky, LA
29th July 1992
by Troy J. Augusto from Variety 5th August 1992
If great things come in small packages, then the outlook for Boston's Lemonheads is surely a bright one. The band recently released "It's a Shame About Ray" (Atlantic Records), a catchy but diminutive collection of two-minute pop songs lasting just 30 minutes. The trio's live show is also brief--less than an hour--but that may be the only complaint.
Leader Evan Dando possesses an impressive pop awareness that has his band poised to become the next big alternative-rock thing. Dando doesn't have much of a stage presence, so he relies on his band and his songs to deliver the punches.
"Rudderless,""Ceiling Fan in My Spoon" and semihit album title track were cool, stripped-down rock at its Boston underground best. The entirely infectious "Rockin' Stroll" and the plaintive "Bit Part" were also strong. Dando's compact, effective songwriting recalls the Replacements or Dinosaur Jr.
Juliana Hatfield, formerly of Boston-based, ultrabrilliant Blake Babies, opened the show with 45 minutes of very moody, heartfelt semigrunge, East Coast-style. Coming across like the naughty member of the Bangles that we never knew, Hatfield and her two band members offered satisfying songs from their new "Hey Babe" album on Mammoth, as well as three new numbers.
The Edie Brickell-ish "Everybody Loves Me but You" and the early-Cyndi Lauper-like "I See You" and "Quit" were highlights of the set. Though Hatfield endured some technical trouble, she maintained an impressively engaging intensity.
Line of the night was found in "Nirvana," her tribute song to the DGC band: "I've got Nirvana in my head; I'm so glad I'm not dead." Far from dead, Hatfield , along with Dando, are two musicians to keep an eye on.