Review: Hollywood Reporter

REVIEW: The Palace, Hollywood Sunday, Nov. 7
by Ethlie Ann Vare

The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando proved himself to also be one of the World’s 50 Most Boring People. During the first of two consecutive nights at the Hollywood venue, the singer insistently hung his famous thick hair down over his famous chiseled features and raced through a 70-minute set as if he had a more pressing appointment elsewhere.

The beautifully crafted radio pop songs we associate with the Boston-based band were not the bulk of their set as they launched this new tour. Instead, the band used a power-trio assault made indistinguishable by the Palace’s wall-of-mud sound system. Drummer David Ryan pounded his tiny kit into submission throughout, to good effect on a song like “Style” (from the new Atlantic album “Come on Feel the Lemonheads”) … but hardly a help for milder tunes like “Paid to Smile.” When a sharp-edged gem like the single “Into Your Arms” was dropped into the set, it was done so with no fanfare to set it off. Diamonds in the rough, indeed.

If you only know the Lemonheads because of their hit cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” well, they didn’t play it. They did, however, play a delightful snippet of “Frank Mills” from the musical “Hair.”

Dando — dressed, oddly, in a scarlet jacket trimmed with maribou feathers — never said a word to the audience until the second encore, when he expressed surprise that the house lights were already up and half the crowd had wandered off.

His anti-rock-idol persona has made Dando something of a slacker icon. It doesn’t serve him well as a performer.

No group could be more thematically opposed to the Lemonheads than opening act Hole. Where Dando insists on doing all his communicating through his material, singer Courtney Love (yes, Mrs. Kurt Cobain) inserts a song or two into her chatter as an afterthought.

Where Dando races, Love dawdles. Where Dando couldn’t care less if there’s even an audience present, Love is so desperate for the crowd’s attention that she chides individuals — by name! — for not listening hard enough.

Songs like “Gutless” and “Teenage Whore” hint at the power Hole’s upcoming Geffen album might have. But Love is much more interesting as a loose cannon than she is as a guitar player. Dysfunction is sexy. Ask any Lou Reed fan.