The Constellation Room
In a room surrounded by people at least twice my age and their children not even half my age I was completely out of place during the Lemonheads set on Saturday. The Constellation Room was half filled, which was actually a feat considering the band hasn't released an album of original songs in seven years.
The Lemonheads peaked in success with their 1992 album It's A Shame About Ray. Driving to the show I was excited to hear some of those songs specifically. Having never seen the band live, I was nervous they would not live up to an album they recorded 21 years ago. However, from the moment Evan Dando stepped on stage at the Constellation room to the moment he stepped off, It didn't matter that the band hasn't released music in a decade or if the original members backed the songs. Dando's voice brought the songs to a complete new life and attempt at bringing a new audience.
The opening bands were at best tolerable. One being a Black Sabbath-sounding trio, all female, the other being a group of men my dad's age making grungy noise rock tunes. It was expected though, because the Observatory usually pieces together strange openers and ultimately no band in the Orange County music scene seems to be influenced or even interested in what The Lemonheads do, so it's safe to say there was never a chance an worth while act would open.
When the Lemonheads came on they opened with a song I knew, “Confetti.” The band flew through their setlist touching on other tracks from their breakout album including a slowed down version of “Drug Buddy” and the title track “It's a Shame About Ray.” Not only did they live up to the recorded versions, but time did not wear on Dando's voice. The deep crevices of his voice were a little low in the mix, but were audible enough to fill the room.
Halfway through the set Evan Dando sent the backing band off the stage and played a few songs guitar and vocals only. The songs Dando chose to play sent a haunting reminder of an obvious influence on the Lemonheads album It's a Shame About Ray, The Flying Burrito Brothers. The nostalgic and personal impact that this had on the audience was especially strong for this reviewer. My grandfather was once part of the Burrito Brothers so every ounce of soft country rock bled deep into my childhood memories.
After the intermission of slowed down tracks, the backing band got back on stage to perform a few more songs including my personal favorite from the band “Rudderless.” The intermission made the set feel light and kept it from getting stale. The band executed their songs in a way that left me truly pleased. What I worried could be boring and outdated became a night I will probably never forget. I intend to see Dando again in my life if I ever get the chance.
The Crowd : Loud obnoxious middle aged men and quiet families