It was a night of 90’s nostalgia as Evan Dando brought The Lemonheads to The Limelight Belfast as part of a short UK and Ireland tour.
They were supported by Belgian band Few Bits. Just two guitars, fabulous harmonies and some great tunes. I would recommend checking them out if you haven’t already heard them.
Having heard some stories of Evan Dando no shows at gigs and a tale of him playing a previous Belfast gig under a large white towel, maybe it’s just one of those urban myths, when he shuffled onto the stage at 9.30 exactly we knew the gig was definitely going to happen and from my point of view The Lemonheads did not disappoint.
They opened with “Hospital” from the 1995 album Car, Button, Cloth and without breaking sweat moved straight into “Down About It” and “Dawn Can’t Decide” from Come On Feel The Lemonheads. Just a couple of early observations about the night were firstly that Evan Dando was very “Van Morrison” in that he didn’t say very much and secondly he’s taller than I thought he’d be!!!!
The rest of the band then took a break and left Evan Dando to his own devices for the next few songs. He played “Being Around”, “Into Your Arms” and “Frank Mills” with the latter producing a full perfect vocal Limelight song along.
The rest of the band returned to the stage and this signalled a change of pace with the volume being cranked up to the sounds of “Confetti”, “Alison’s Starting to Happen” and “Rudderless” from probably their most popular and best known album release It’s a Shame About Ray. It was safe to say at this point that the gig was in full swing and it felt that the majority of the full house were back in 1992 and do you know what, it wasn’t a bad thing. It’s a Shame About Ray is nearly 25 years old now but it is just one of those albums that appears to have stood the test of time and the songs were played tonight like they had just been written. You have to love it when a band can do this.
Northern Ireland has produced it’s fair share of great bands and memorable songs and whilst The Lemonheads already had this crowd and reviewer on side they churned out “Alternative Ulster” and “Teenage Kicks” for good measure. They could do no wrong from here on in.
One song that didn’t make it onto the set list tonight, maybe it never does anymore, was the Simon and Garfunkel composition Mrs Robinson. From my point of view it didn’t bother me but I’m sure there were a few who maybe didn’t think the same.
For me this was the first time I’d seen the band and they definitely didn’t disappoint. The Limelight is a perfect venue where you can almost be in touching distance of the band from any part of the room. It’s a wonderful experience. With The Lemonheads having been at the peak of their success in the early 90’s it was obvious that the crowd tonight would mostly be pushing 40. This may have been the case but it didn’t stop a big crowd having a great night. It was packed, with the temperature at melting point and it was the first gig in a while that I have left with my ears ringing. This is how it should be. Michael Ferguson, GiggingNI.com