There is a HUGE side bar to tonights 56th edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series taking place in the Bowery, actually at the Bowery Ballroom to be precise . It's the second of a back to back stint here for the Lemonheads, who are touring performing “It's a Shame About Ray”. The aforementioned side bar being that of Evan Dando. In the past week or two since this tour kicked off it's been nothing but terrible reviews. Ranging from a show at the Mercy Lounge(where my buddies the Meat Puppets played a few nights prior) in Nashville , TN all the way up to the Twitter-verse going nuts with #Lemonheads hash-tagged comments reading of people walking out on last nights set at the Bowery Ballroom, with the band not coming on til “way after 11PM” and “they were getting booed”. Wow.. This could be interesting. I mean, it's not like I've read or seen one positive thing about this current “It's a Shame About Ray” tour. Of course that only really gives me two angles to take. I could be the author of the first positive words about the Lemonheads this year, or I could climb aboard that bandwagon of disappointed people wondering what kinda drugs is Evan Dando on these days.. The performance will dictate this of course, but I do plan on showing up early to grab some first come first serve seats sometimes offered at this venue upstairs (like where I sat for Mudhoney last year.), so there WILL be video of whatever fate the band chooses for themselves tonight. I'll have beer in hand cocked to chuck at Dando if he behaves like the complete fool I've been reading about. Let's get this party started....
What better to do on this Columbus Day 2011 then celebrate Christopher Columbus( who came to America and turned the Native Americans into slaves, claiming he discovered the land) then head to the "Sold Out" Bowery Ballroom to as I continue to inadvertently live up to my Mr.90's mantra?
I got out of a cab at 7PM, I'm the only one here besides the dude at the door who's only job is to tell people "doors are at 8PM". Sweet, I was hungry anyway. Grabbed a slice a few blocks away (although I Tweeted I was heading for Chinese, since the Bowery is basically Chinatown. There's nothing over there food wise). Got back there around 7:20- Met some cool peeps on line heading in, one dude who was there from last night. He said it was terrible: "Dando couldn't put two words together". There was a couple there who were cool too who just listened to to album on the way over (all 29 minutes of it) and the other chick who was at the Dando & Juliana Hatfield shows earlier this year(If they're reading I'm trying to shout you guys out but I've never been to good with names!) . So the let us in a little before 8 but these are just the door to the downstairs bar. At 8:20 the finally let us into the main floor where we raced upstairs to snag seats at a table with the rest of the posse up there with us. Grabbed a table with my buddy who was here last night, love comparing notes. Sat next to two women from Melbourne. One of the two women said she saw Dando on some street one time and asked if he wanted a ride and he accepted due to the fact he spent all his money on booze. I am so freaking ready.
At 8:43 the 1st opener 'New York Rivals' came on. The traditional 4 piece with the lead singerdoubling on guitar. The lead singer dude says that they've "Only been a band 6 weeks" and " 2 months ago I was on the couch watching Netflix" . They weren't bad for a band not so seasoned. About three songs in they had me in head nod mode and I have never even heard of these guys.. I've seen a lot worse openers (maybe I'm about to see a worse one follow them!) 9:13 was their ceiling, as they headed off to make room for Shining Twins
They're setting up this big drum set up where the mic stand for the lead vocalist is. I turn to my bud and I'm like "what the F#%k is going on here??). He says to me, "I don't want to ruin it for you" with this grin on his face. Emphasis on 'ruin'.
The Shining Twins hit the stage at 9:35. Apparently we have ourselves a stand up drummer( a chick, dueling as lead vocalist with the bass player), Odd... I'll keep an open mind. Besides, two out of the three in this band are chicks. ..The girl playing bass said it was hot on stage as they were tuning, so OF COURSE I shouted out(didn't even shout,but said loudly) "so take off your shirt then!".. She was like "did someone really just say that? Even in new York?" in this obnoxious sort of tone, like as if that's something sacrilegious to say at a concert. I think "take your shirt off" is second to "Freebird" in consistent things shouted at concerts. If you don't want me to say sh!t like that then don't set me up so wonderfully(and don't be moderately attractive).. After a few songs into their set I'm trying to nail down who they sound like, then it hit me like a Anti-Pleasure Dissertation : they sound like a really bad version of the band Bikini Kill. The way the girls had the harmonies going. Losing alot without the drummer being at a natural kit. But then I see the guitar player is left handed and playing an upside-down Fender Jaguar(think it was a Jag) a la Kurt Cobain, that was the topping on this sh!tty cake for me. This whole act had such a poser type feel to it of that's possible.. They went off at 9:53PM
Now the wait begins, the countdown til what could be the most epic of fails. We chatted with the women from Melbourne for a while, trading concert war stories.
10:45ish, here come the Lemonheads! They came out and blasted into "Rockin Stroll". From the first chord, first verse you can tell things seem to have fallen in line . There was no fumbling around on stage before starting, no looks of confusion on the face of Dando. My bud who's here from last night turned quickly after the song and said "Like night and day!", commenting on Dando's lucidness, and ability of the band to play the music compared to the previous night(and all other nights of this tour).
Last night they didn't perform the entirety of "It's a Shame About Ray", even tho that's what the bill said. That's what was so different about this-I didn't have any expectations for good until they began doing the songs in order off the album with no glitches . Confetti was awesome, and after the first chord of "It's a Shame about Ray" Dando stops like he messed up or something, and then says "Nah, I'm kidding!"
and they rocked that sh!t out . That's whenI knew they weren't going to have one of those shows I've been reading about. I mean, even tho Dando's sentences didn't make a whole lot of sense, it at least looked as if HE knew what he was talking about. He was conversing with fans, between songs and between amp checks..
They played the whole album before the band left the stage leaving just Evan and an acoustic guitar to play solo. He never left the stage through the duration of the night, he played what was basically an entire acoustic set after finishing the album . If I had one complaint about the album
portion of the show, it would have to be inviting a fan up on stage to sing the lyrics to "Mrs. Robinson". What's up with that? Her voice isn't really projecting through the mic, it's almost like an instrumental.. When Dando asked if someone in the crowd could sing it, we were shouting from balcony "how bout YOU sing it Evan??!?" ... He didn't go near the mic for that one.
After the acoustic goings on the band came back on stage and they jumped into a little audience request portion of the evening. We're passing Midnight and these guys look like they could go all night. We were screaming "If I could talk I'd tell you!!!" and Dando gave us a look and a nod but never ended up playing it. "Big Gay Heart" was awesome, I Heart that song.
Counting all these videos I'm uploading, we may have gotten to 30 songs here tonight-seriously. Ended the night with "Into Your Arms" at 12:22AM and sent a sold out crowd home extremely satisfied. Total curve ball from what I went in there expecting. Bravo Mr. Dando, hats off to you for keeping it together the night I came into the building. All the folks at Concert Confessions and the 7 people who visit The Jay Porks Experience site will be very appreciative. Great show... I mean, besides The Shining Twins.. whose bassist can't take a joke..
If you made it to the end of this, you're awesome and I hope you enjoyed, I'll surely be back soon with tales of epic experiences as next up October 23rd is Weird Al Yankovic of all people, at the Beacon Theater of all places.. That could be something very epic indeed. Catch ya then! Late