Wednesday, 10 February 2010

591 EVAN DANDO, YOU AM I, Pieces, Bristol University Anson Rooms, Tuesday 13 May 2003

As if I needed another reason to get excited about another gig from one of my all-time rock icons and the man I named my first-born son after, Mr. Evan Dando, I got two - firstly, the esteemed You Am I, a band we missed seeing recently due to our Sheila Divine marathon week in London, were announced as support; and secondly, a call to EdV revealed that Boston friend Josh Lattanzi was playing bass for Evan!

Thus galvanised, we zoomed to Bristol with friends, hitting the venue at 1/4 to 8. Got drinks before launching a Josh hunt; called out Chris Brokaw from backstage and got him to look back for him, but he wasn't there. However, we wandered into the hall to catch a bit of first support Pieces, and Josh was practically the first person we saw. Typical! Also typical was that Josh recognised my Damn Personals "Our Rock Will Fuck You" t-shirt before he recognised me! Nevertheless we got welcome hugs as we caught up with one of the sweetest guys in rock.

Introduced Josh to the crew in the bar, following Pieces cute and inoffensive yet inauspicious set (sounded a bit like Smudge in its' laid-back feel, and lauded by Josh) and chewed the cud before Josh went backstage, and we hit the hall for You Am I, back in the UK after 7 years.

The reason for You Am I's current UK ascendancy is down to the patronage of fellow Australians The Vines; however they can make it on their own thank you very much, and proved it tonight with a corkingly incendiary rock set. Shades of The Who and The Stooges in their raw power and rootsy rock feel, You Am I were great tonight and made us glad we finally got to see them. A largely unfamiliar set ('cause I'm a couple of albums behind with them right now), but embellished with their "biggest hit" ("number 74 in New Zealand," said vocalist Tim Rogers), the touching "Heavy Heart", and an incendiary run-through my favourite You Am I track, "Cathy's Clown". Great stuff.

Stayed near the front, stage right, for Evan, but were joined by a plethora of drunken numbskulls singing barmy army songs and spilling beer. Surely the wrong gig for that! Evan came on at 9.45 to a herald of freeform jazz, which he inexplicably wanted turning up! However, he eventually got down to playing a few acoustic numbers from the Lemonheads' classic "Shame About Ray" album and some new stuff, before being joined by Josh and the rest of the band for "Big Gay Heart" and "Great Big No" from "Come On Feel The Lemonheads". A selection of standout moments from the Lemonheads musical canon, augmented with toughened up numbers from his disappointing recent "Baby I'm Bored" CD - sounding way better "live" - followed, highlighting Evan's excellent rich voice and his penchant for easy, laid back guitar melody. The second-best bassist in Boston (sorry Josh, but EdV's number one) held the bass steady and sure, and Evan's performance exuded new-found confidence and total star quality. "Down About It", the set closer "Rudderless" and unexpected second encore "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You" were my highlights; although I'm a little concerned by Evan's continued over-reliance on an album now 11 years old, it's conversely still great to hear all that "Shame About Ray" material "live" again!

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