Tag Archives: velvet sessions

Lemonheads Leave a Sour Taste

Funny thing about concert reviews is that the more positive it is the more likely it will be widely read.  Bands and fans tend to pass on links for the good reviews; not so much for the negative ones. That tendency coupled with the amazing lack of interest and passion I witnessed from Evan Dando and The Lemonheads has convinced me that the right approach would be a half-assed review that reflects the band’s effort at Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions in Orlando on Thursday night.

For all intents and purposes, The Lemonheads are Evan Dando plus two revolving players.  The other two members of his trio has literally included at least two dozen members over the last twenty years. That’s a lot of turnover. Chuck Treece, a journeyman drummer who has played with some notable acts over the years was on drums.  We expected to see Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday) on bass, but he was not in the line-up this night.

The tour is featuring a 20th Anniversary tribute to The Lemonheads’ fantastic breakthrough album It’s a Shame About Ray played through in its entirety. He raced through it in under 30  minutes, spent the entire set staring at the setlist and never acknowledging the small crowd. The only sign of life from Dando was a whimsical smile as he wrapped up “Frank Mills.” He did not play “Mrs. Robinson,” still peeved that most casual fans like the song as much as any of his self-penned hits.

After wrapping up the album set, Dando played a few acoustic songs. I have the set list, but just don’t feel like typing out the songs.   The highlight of the show for me? During this acoustic set, I walked over to the bar and tried Abita’s IPA. An excellent, smooth beer with just the right level of bitterness.

Dando’s voice is still unique and poignant, but on this evening his guitar playing was uninspired. He really didn’t look his old beautiful self.  I have pictures to prove that, but why spend the effort to upload them? Through the years, I’ve read enough Lemonheads concert reviews to know it’s a crapshoot on what Evan Dando version is going to take the stage. Looks like we got the poor version. Perhaps he was under the weather again?

The other two members of the band returned to the stage to rip through a few more songs, including a few crowd favorites. I’m sure you know the ones…

51 minutes later: Exit Stage Left. The pain for Dando and the fans was thankfully over.

Cretin

Here a link to the featured album, which despite the lame show remains a 90’s masterpiece. Just don’t listen to Track 13…

Furs – Still Pretty Good After All These Years

I’ve now seen the Psychedelic Furs about half a dozen times over the past 30 years, and it’s amazing how reliable and consistent the shows are.  This time around I was able to catch them at the Velvet Sessions venue at the Hard Rock hotel in Orlando.

This band just doesn’t get enough credit for the breadth and depth of their musical library, and their musicianship remains fantastic. As a nice twist on this tour, the band celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the release of their breakthrough 1981 album Talk, Talk, Talk by playing it straight through in its entirety.

The constants throughout all of the incarnations of the alternative rock stalwarts have been brothers Richard and Tim Butler.  Richard is still a consummate front man, his voice as pure as ever, and his engaging performance still reeking of charisma.  He never stops interacting with the crowd, and seems to still truly enjoy performing.  Tim’s bass coupled with the driving beat of near original drummer Paul Garisto kept the crowd hopping all night. Mars Williams was back with the band and stole the spotlight several times with riveting sax solos.  The talented band was rounded out by Amanda Kremer on keyboards and Rich Good on guitar.

The highlights for me:

  • Richard Butler’s performance – still delivers the vocals with energy and passion
  • Talk, Talk, Talk – a rare chance to hear some tunes they probably haven’t played in 30 years, including the under-rated “Into You Like a Train.”
  • The cohesion of the band. They just sounded great together, and ever musician shined at one point in time or another.

Disappointment:

  • I didn’t time it, but their set seemed short. Although I really enjoyed the focus on Talk, Talk, Talk, I missed hearing a few of their classics.

Setlist:

Dumb Waiters
Pretty in Pink
I Wanna Sleep With You
No Tears
Mr. Jones
Into You Like a Train
It Goes On
So Run Down
All of This and Nothing
She is Mine

Love My Way
Sister of Mine
President Gas
Highwire Days
Heaven
Heartbreak Beat

As for the venue; it was my first trip to Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions, but I will be back. It’s a temporary set-up in the hotel lobby (across from the Velvet Lounge). Along with the price of admission, you have a 90 minute free bar, and free appetizers. The food and the drinks, as well as the service were excellent, and the sound quality was surprisingly good.

Cretin, June 30, 2011

Check out Rara’s Best Driving songs of all-time.