Evan Dando: New Jersey Hoboken Maxwell’s

For the most part he's lost...

Rumours of Dando’s drug consumption in the past few years have been all the more intense because of his status as the pin-up boy of ’90s American college rock. Everyone likes to see the good guy ruin himself. Drugs would probably explain his involvement in the BBC’s ‘Perfect Day’ celebrity bonanza and a four year hiatus since the last Lemonheads album, but the pretty boy is back and he’s married – but he still appears as wasted as ever.

He also seems uncomfortable playing solo. He’s typically laconic, pausing only to tell the crowd two songs into his set that, “I just bought this guitar at a pawn shop and I’m not too pleased with the way it sounds.” Neither are we, thanks very much, as ‘Rudderless’ loses its poignancy in a storm of loose ends and fractured chord changes. Victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat with the poise and charm of ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ and ‘If I Could Talk I’d Tell You’ undiminished by the thrift store guitar sound.

There’s scant acknowledgement of new songs that should be forming the backbone to his comeback trail, even though co-writer Ben Lee is in the crowd. Perhaps if Lee had joined Dando on stage there’d be more excitement, more of a dynamic, because as it is for the most part he’s lost and sadly wanting for that extra spark he used to be able to switch on with such ease.

Ben Clancy