LIVE REVIEW: The Lemonheads – Indigo o2, London
Tonight, at the Indigo o2, The Lemonheads play the final night of their UK tour. It’s a strange venue for a number of reasons – it’s in Greenwich, it’s surrounded by restaurants and bars, it’s dominated by the actual o2 (tonight playing host to Michael McIntyre) and it’s so well run that the bars run out of cider less than an hour after the doors open.
That said, tonight is all about The Lemonheads; the sort of band that inspire passion, fervour, and relentless, unwavering enthusiasm… or at least, they used to.
Tonights gig is a slow burner and being able to take a quick look at the setlist as it’s taped to the stage, I’m somewhat underwhelmed. As the first few songs progress it feels a bit restrained, a bit laboured and a bit sedentary.
What the setlist failed to tell me was that the gap after ‘Style’ indicated that something truly Lemonhead-esque was about to happen. Everyone bar Evan Dando leaves the stage and he strips it all the way down; going from an electric guitar, to an acoustic guitar, to just his own voice (for ‘Frank Mills’) and the memories of the 90s come streaking back to us like waves. We’re all captivated, bar those bearded, middle-aged, dinner-party goers who have forgotten what live music is about and who insist on drowning out Evan’s magic and wonder with inane drivel, jokes, laughter and general chit-chat. A plague on the houses of these gentrified, fat and comfortable grown-ups. Give me a room full of enthusiastic, stinky students any day of the week.
As the acoustic segment draws to a close we’re told “One more then we’re gonna bring the band back out”… and what a “one more” we’re in for. The perfect twang and jangle of ‘Outdoor Type’ rings out and finally, we are all enraptured and transfixed. It’s the moment of the night, perhaps heightened in its joy by the silence of The Muppet Show and their facial hair.
We switch back to the printed setlist and it’s more of a greatest moments sort of affair with ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’, ‘Great Big No’, ‘My Drug Buddy’ ringing out, true to the originals.
The set closes with ‘Rudderless’ and we trudge out to join the queues for public transport, surrounded by the devoted Michael McIntyre fans. ‘Great Big No’ might be an apposite phrase to describe much of tonight but with Evan promising us he’s in town for another week, recording, it just might be worth keeping your eyes open for a few guerilla gigs. Hopefully the beards will already have something planned that night.