On Friday night I went to see the Lemonheads at the Double Door with Matt (who got us in for free, thank God). I had very low expectations for the show, honestly, simply because it was sort of a reunion tour of an early '90s alternative band. Also, what would be Evan Dando be on? Pot? Valium? Crack? It was quite the crap shoot, but, hey, I wasn't paying the twenty-dollar ticket price, so, who cares?! He can sit on stage and shoot heroin for a couple of hours and it'd be totally cool, right?!
Upon our arrival I immediately realized that I was the youngest person in the entire club. Clearly the youngest person in the club. I had expected this, having been the only person to "get into" the Lemonheads while I was in college in 2003. It was a rather eclectic congregation of Lemonheads fans; there were the aging hipsters, some yuppie, suburban parents, and a couple of meathead types who were wearing one-size-too-big leather jackets, and their attendance made me wonder how well "Big Gay Heart" might go over. There was an unfortunate lack of flannel, but there was one dude who was wearing a bright yellow "Zion Roots Wear" shirt which may have been left over from the Arrested Development set at Woodstock '94.
We managed to get pretty close to the stage before Evan Dando and company came out, and it was rather awkward because we were in Biggest Lemonheads Fan!! zone and I was most likely already looking worried and NOT in the mood for sweet, harmonious jams, especially when I started to realize that most of these fans hadn't been to a "rock concert" in a long time. (Dear God: Please kill me before I ever have the inclination to go back to shows after a seven or eight year absence. I'd much rather die than have someone my brother's age make fun of me in his blog. Thank you.)
I only recognized Evan Dando when the band came out, primarily because the other two guys weren't in the original band, or even on the "comeback" album released a few months ago (although the bassist did look like my Uncle Moore with more - and greasier - hair). I was rather surprised how good the band sounded, and they played a lot of the older stuff that I recognized. And Dando seemed to be keeping it all together, so I thought, "Hey! No money well spent!" But then things started getting weirder, i.e. Dando started speaking and being generally jerky. At one point, he knocked over the mic stand as if to say, "Hey, guys, look at me, I can still rock, dudes. Totally. 1996!" He'd also walk up to the edge of the stage, lean down, and hand his pick to an audience member, who would pluck at his guitar. This was kind of cool the first time, but then it kept happening, and I wasn't sure who exactly was getting the most enjoyment out of it. Was it Randy (Michigan '97), who know had something to tell his buddies at next year's reunion? Or was it Evan, who was quite possibly thinking, "I'm totally going to rock this dude's world right now."
And then came the solo set, and Evan played a pretty good version of "Into Your Arms," and again, I started to enjoy what I was hearing. And then he'd fuck it all up again by talking nonsense ("Anybody remember that Bonnie Tyler video?!"), doing a mediocre cover of "Don't Fear the Reaper," or playing a "gay song" that was NOT "Big Gay Heart," but instead went something like this: "Lesbians are great, lesbians rule. Homos are the coolest of the cool!" Between that song and "Being Around," which features the lyric, "If I was a booger would you blow your nose? Where would you keep it? Would you eat it," I realized that listening to Dando sing this stuff ten years ago may have seemed pretty fun and lighthearted, but now he's 39, and it just seems rather immature and stupid. And on top of that, I was stuck in a crowd of Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick's Singles contemporaries, and it was very weird. Needless to say, we left in the middle of the encore, which I was pleased to hear was not a shitty reunion-tour rendition of a shitty cover of "Mrs. Robinson." And it all made me wonder: who is the '00s equivalent to the Lemonheads?