The Lemonheads play “It’s a shame about Ray”, Paris, La Maroquinerie, 26th April 2012

Back to La Maroquinerie twice in a row after years of absence and with a rejuvenated pleasure as this might be my favourite hall ever. And this time to see on of my favourite bands which I had seen in that same place in 2006. The Lemonheads are now more than ever the project of Evan Dando who is singer, songwriter, guitarist…and the one setting the mood.

 Tonight, the show was based on their most famous (and probably best) LP from 1992 “It’s a shame about Ray“. Published in 1992 in the middle of the grunge era, this album bore the kind of abandon that characterized the US-western bands of the early 90’s but with on top a sense of melody and concision much more related to the bands of the East Coast (they were originally formed in Boston). I have personally always been under the charm of these simple and short melodies played with a laid-back intensity in a sort of Neil Young meets the Ramones sound (well, sort of…).

As often in bands with strong-personality leaders (hello Echo & The Bunnymen), the show has been a very emotional but weird one with almost no contact from Evan with the audience apart from a few mumbled thank-you’s and irrelevant concerns about the sound. Evan started to play suddenly on an acoustic solo formula before the whole band (a trio) arrived to play the above-mentioned album in its entirety. A few more acoustic and electric tracks..and that was it after 75 minutes. Your host has always been a fan of great and short intense sets but the feeling here was a bit weird to say the least.

Whatever, when the band played, they were great and though a bit older and with more wrinkles on his angel face than in the past, Evan is still a fascinating persona and sings beautifully. Enjoy this video I took of the title track of this LP and one of the greatest too. And go and buy “It’s a shame about Ray” if you do not own it yet!

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