Monday, May 12, 2008

Dando Lion

In the space of about 2 months I almost pulled off a trifecta of musical obsession for Melody. There was The Rolling Stones concert at Dodger Stadium. There was Guns 'n Roses at the Gibson Amphitheater which we wound up NOT attending because we were both sick as a dog and she was leaving to go home for Christmas.

But before both of those came The Lemonheads at The Troubadour. The Troubadour for me holds a bit of melancholy...back when I first came out to Los Angeles for pilot season in 2001 my cousin Mike and I were supposed to see Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. Joe Strummer was the lead singer/rhythm guitar player/songwriter/bandolero of The Clash. His next band The Mescaleros is ALMOST as good as The Clash. His solo stuff is sadly under appreciated.

Mike had tickets. But a speeding late '70's American behemoth of a car hit-and-ran me at the intersection of Crenshaw and the 10. Needless to say I was in no shape for a concert. Joe Strummer died the next year. I'm still in denial over that one.

So The Troubadour symbolizes the great show that never came to pass for me, and is tied up with the death of an idol. But when I heard The Lemonheads were playing there I snapped up 2 tickets pronto.

Melody was new to LA at the time and hadn't been to The Troubadour. She also had been a teenager in mad lust/love with Evan Dando but had never had the opportunity to see them live. I risked her taking him hostage and going on the lam by taking her to the show.

I had always liked The Lemonheads but had never really gotten into them. To my ear they sounded lazy. I also held a bit of a guy grudge against Evan Dando, feeling that a guy that tall and good-looking couldn't possibly have anything to say that would speak to a normal size midget like myself.

I've since come to believe that his music has been greatly overlooked due to this prejudice, in much the same way that Marilyn Monroe's immense gift was overshadowed by her beauty. This is a shame because Evan Dando is a GREAT writer.

His songs somehow cram Douglas Coupland novels into 3 minutes and 30 seconds of sing-along tastiness. He can confound you and break your heart at the same time. When you spend a little time with this music you start to worry for him, to feel protective, to wish that the rest of the world would stop drooling over him long enough to take him, his feelings, his songs, and his ideas seriously.

His songs prefigure the whole alt/country genre and he croons as hard as he rocks.

All that being said, I couldn't help but feel some serious pangs of jealousy as I watched him stoop down to sing into a fully extended microphone stand while my girlfriend loudly lost her mind.

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