Gig review: The Lemonheads, Metro Theatre, 11 December 2014

Starting out as a rough-edged hardcore-influenced band in the fertile Boston scene, The Lemonheads eventually morphed into a kind of country-tinged and beautifully messy amalgam of garage rock and laidback indie pop which became huge on college radio and then spilled over into mainstream success.

They’ve been far from prolific since their glorious early 90s peak, though these songs have dated better than anyone could have expected and benefit from the fact that the laconic songwriting of Evan Dando and friends has few contemporaries.

This Metro show proved a warmly nostalgic affair with many songs spontaneously turning into mass sing-alongs. It kicked off with Dando alone on stage playing the gently funny ‘Being Around’, before being joined by a full band including the prolific Chris Brokaw on guitar for a set packed with classic Lemonheads songs like ‘Confetti’, ‘Rudderless’ and ‘Style’.

Dando’s voice may have weathered over the years, but there’s still an appealing mellowness to his vocals and ‘Into My Arms’ and ‘Hospital’ were particularly gorgeous.

The encore paid tribute to the band’s heavy Australian influence with the wry Tom Morgan-penned ‘The Outdoor Type’ and an energetic version of ‘Alison’s Waiting To Happen’, written about the drummer from Smudge.

Even after the house lights go up, people are still baying for more. Two decades after The Lemonheads’ unlikely brush with commercial success, affection for these unassuming but casually brilliant songs remains undimmed.

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