The Lemonheads - The Ritz - Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Lemonheads - The Ritz - Manchester

by Miz DeShannon Rating:7 Release Date:2011-11-02

Remember your first ever gig? The tension, the excitement, the frantic fight to get to the front, and possibly catch one bit of sweat or a fleeting glance from your favourite singer? That was me at my first ever gig – 14-years-old, watching The Lemonheads at Manchester Academy, staring in absolute awe at Evan Dando. Attempting to rewind to such a time is always a risk, when you’ve not seen the band for [insert a large number] years. And I’m not entirely sure what I made of doing so with The Lemonheads...

Strolling on stage in a loose white shirt, with a beautiful Gibson SG guitar to match, Dando epitomised hippy chic just as he did in the 90s with his scruffy hair still hanging over his face. Backed-up by Todd Philips (drums), Jen Turner (bass) and guitarist Chris Brokaw (sadly not original member Ben Deily), Dando jumped straight in with some classics like ‘Down About It’, ‘Dawn Can’t Decide’ and ‘It’s About Time’ from the inimitable 1993 album ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’.


An array of stacked amps neatly placed towards the front of the stage, lighting dipping to highlight the black cotton backdrop, and the laid back grungy vibes gave the gig somewhat of a high school feel. Brokaw slowly mooched about the stage like a Nashville version of Peter Hayes (embroidered shirt and all), and the amount of plaid shirts and mid-Mod styling in the audience said this was not one for the hipsters – the people were here for the music, man.

Through over 30 minutes of stripped-down Dando, dwelling on the success of his recent solo tour whilst duetting with Brokaw, the beautiful sing-along to ‘Frank Mills’ was a real heart-wrench, and ‘Into Your Arms’ was executed with more Lanagan-esque drawl than usual. A few dropped notes here and there, on vocals and guitar, but this only added to the sweet and rugged charm of the whole event. An immensely bouncy Turner re-joined the stage with Adams for ‘Confetti’ and ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ amongst others, being the proverbial Durcell bunny, jumping on and off the drum riser, barefoot in maximum hippy chic mode. A cock-up by Dando on his newly written track (about Nancy Reagan?) seemed to throw him and end the track and the rest of the set rather abruptly, seeing the band leave the stage then return to rush through ‘Alison‘s Starting To Happen’ for a minimal encore. We’d all left the venue by 10:15.


And that reminiscing thing – this wasn’t quite how I remember my first ever gig, but still, the nostalgia kicked in and everyone was happy. Older, more worn, but happy.


(Image courtesy of Shirlaine Forrest)


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The Lemonheads were one of my first loves as a teenager, love 'em. Saw them years later and loved every nostalgia soaked moment

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