The Lemonheads @ The Rosemount, Perth (5/12/2010)

Perth fans at The Rosemount eagerly embraced The Lemonheads’ long awaited return to Australia on Sunday with support from The Candles. The Rosemount was packed solid from stage to bar, to entries and exits. You could feel the excitement in the room building with anticipation and then the band appeared and launched into Rockin Stroll

The 3-piece are lead by American indie rock legend Evan Dando, who has been the band’s only constant member. Dando promised, and delivered, songs from 1992’s It’s a Shame About Ray album as well as a selection of favourites from their other eight releases. Australia is something of a second home to Dando and is also where he wrote most of the album considered to be the band’s greatest album to date.

The set list provided songs in order of the album more or less, with other popular numbers from other albums slipped in. Dando performed solo, acoustically, mid-way through the set which included favourites such as The Outdoor Type and Frank Mills.

Dando is an amazingly skilful songwriter; his lyrics are unfolding stories and poetic memories with cleverly placed humour and irony within them. There was not a lot of audience interaction but the music was top notch and worth every penny. Dando’s vocals were strong and clear, all his music was faultless. He has been known to perform some hit and miss shows in the past because of a drug habit, but as he picked up a beer, he quipped; “I’ve quit the drugs, so now I drink instead”. His delivery of each song was breathtakingly soulful. It was clear the crowd were hooked and transfixed, re-living their own favourite moments with each song performed. Many were smiling to themselves or swaying with friends and singing along to each tune.

The only disappointment came after the perfect set was completed. Dando left the stage to hundreds of cheers. Would there be the famous Mrs Robinson cover which helped make the album such a hit? The crowd raised the volume and intensity of their cheers to full force, repeatedly begging for an encore. For a while there was hope, as the room remained darkened but the crowd eventually accepted that it was the end my friend. Due to the strict licensing of the Rosemount, it was quite a “Wham, Bam” experience but definitely included the “Thank you Man!” at the end.