So how about a really random and scattershot concert review?

Before the show my friend Sarah and I grabbed some pizza at Barley’s, which was quite good. Then we headed over to the Peel, but there really wasn’t much need to get there when the gates opened, most people didn’t show up until a few minutes before showtime. We chatted with a few of the merch people and hung out until the first act hit the stage.

The first opening act wasFred Mascherino, a.k.a. The Color Fred, a.k.a. The Guy Who Used To Be In Taking Back Sunday. He did a short acoustic set featuring a few new solo songs, some stuff from his The Color Fred album, an old TBS song, and one song by his new band Terrible Things. I wasn’t very familiar with his music, but he’s a great guitarist and has a wide vocal range (more on that later.)

The second act was Meredith Sheldon, who I had never heard of until she was announced as the opening act. In addition to being pretty much gorgeous, she had a great voice, which reminded me a bit of Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, but with less grit. She opened her set with a solo song and then brought out her band, which featured a kick-ass rhythm section and an elvish looking keyboardist who mostly provided spacey drones that floated in the background. Her songs were a good mix of melodic singer/songwriter type stuff with a hard, punkish edge. With a little more exposure I could see her having some chart success. I had the pleasure of meeting her after the show and she seems like a really sweet person. Sarah bought her CD, so I shall have to borrow it soon.

After a short intermission the Lemonheads finally took the stage. The band at this point is basically a pseudonym for Evan Dando, with the current lineup consisting of the aforementioned Fred Mascherino on bass and backing vocals and a drummer whose name I am currently unable to find on teh interwebs. Dando came on stage solo and played a short acoustic set, consisting of songs from the band’s whole career, including their hit “Into Your Arms” and “Being Around.” Video screens (and the bass drum) showed a very random video loop of what I assume is tour footage from all over the country, including a car wash, a snowy town, and a lot of highway shots. The rest of the band came out shortly and got down to business, playing the album It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety. For some reason this didn’t stop the annoying girls behind us from screaming out requests in between songs. They didn’t mess with the arrangements very much, mostly playing the songs as close to the album as possible, sans all the overdubs. Let it be said that Fred does a mean Juliana Hatfield impression, hitting the high harmonies with ease and even effecting a girlish timbre for the solo backing vocals. On the last song, “Frank Mills,” Dando stopped playing and stepped away from the microphone and let the crowd carry the song on their own. Shortly after leaving the stage all three band members came back out for an encore set that included several songs off the album Come On Feel, one from Car Button Cloth, and even a song from their pre-breakthrough classic Lovey.

The band was very tight and Evan Dando’s voice was in fine form. The sound was very well mixed, something I haven’t been able to say about a concert in quite some time. My only (minor) complaints were the lack of Juliana Hatfield and “Mrs. Robinson.” In all fairness, Dando and Hatfield did have a pretty ugly and public falling out, so I can understand them not wanting to reunite, and he’s probably sick of having to play that song for 20 years, so I won’t fault the guy too much. I had hoped to meet him after the show, but evidently it was his birthday and his introverted nature was taking over. I did however get to meet Fred, who seems like a pretty cool guy. I also snagged a t-shirt and a CD of demos that Dando recorded to a tape deck in a hotel in 1993, mostly songs that would wind up on Come On Feel. I just got done listening and it’s a rather charming little recording, which the liner notes claim was recorded for only $53.

Overall it was a great show and a very fun evening. Tomorrow when I’m not so sleepy I’ll try to post some pictures and/or a video. Until then I’m going to try to get caught up on a few things and then get some sleep…

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