Evan Dando - Live at the Brattle Theatre/Griffith Sunset

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Evan Dando
CD / Album
Label / Studio
EMI Music Distribution


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Early in the '90s, Lemonhead leader Evan Dando wasn't just seen as an up and coming star -- he was touted as a genuine heartthrob, the grungy second coming of teen idols like Shaun Cassidy. Despite his dreamy, Boston surfer good looks and way with a melody, Dando wasn't easy to fit into such a simple, confining category. After all, this was a hardcore punker with a deep love for Gram Parsons, along with a fondness for '60s folk-pop singer/songwriters and a taste for serious intoxication (one of his best songs, "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You," was allegedly inspired by an incident where Dando had to respond to an interview with an NME reporter through writing, since he lost his voice by allegedly smoking too much crack the night before). These traits resulted in a run of three or four (depending on your count) charmingly erratic albums, filled with sweet singing, ramshackle playing, simple and lovely songwriting, great hooks, and unmitigated messes. Dando was able to hold onto his status as a sassy sweetheart for a little while, even sending Come on Feel the Lemonheads to gold status, but it soon came to a crashing halt, as he succumbed to his love of drugs and drink after releasing Car Button Cloth in 1996. He was silent for nearly five years before he snuck out Live at the Brattle Theatre/Griffith Sunset in late 2001 on a U.K.-only label. This isn't a full-fledged comeback -- that, allegedly, was planned for 2002 -- but it was a welcome reminder of why Dando was beloved by alt-rockers in the first place, even as it moves away from his trademark punk-pop toward his singer/songwriter foundation. The record is a modest one, since it finds him running through classic Lemonheads songs (plus one pretty good new one and a cover or two) live on stage. These are rather ragged, but they work, since Dando's voice is as frayed and honeyed as it was at the height of his popularity -- and it's all the more moving in this spare setting. It moves quickly, which is probably why it needed to be supplemented by a second disc consisting of covers (good, but a little too overworked in the studio), and it really isn't a substantial addition to his catalog. It's simply a nice, warm album, which is enough after a half-decade wait. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Disc 1:
1) Down About It (02:25)
2) The Turnpike Down (02:21)
3) The Outdoor Type (02:50)
4) My Drug Buddy (02:55)
5) The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is the Same Thing I Can Live Without (03:14)
6) Ride With Me (03:18)
7) Frying Pan (02:36)
8) Excuse Me Mister (01:10)
9) Thirteen (02:12)
10) Stove (03:34)
11) Half the Time (03:25)

Disc 2:
1) Ba-De-Da (03:35)
2) Fraulein (03:06)
3) Sam Stone (04:46)
4) Nothin (02:16)
5) My Baby's Gone (02:54)
6) Tribute to Hank Williams (03:14)
7) [Untitled Hidden Track] (04:50)

Live at the Brattle Theatre/Griffith Sunset
Main Format
Explicit Lyrics
Keyword Index
Live at the Brattle Theatre/Griffith Sunset | Evan Dando