Kentish Town Forum
With their first album for almost ten years just released on Vagrant, Evan Dando and Co are back in the UK again for a full tour and on this autumn evening the Forum is crowded as refreshingly mature crowd, wait for them to take to the stage. After a perfunctory opening slot, Dando comes loping out on the stage, a humble smile on his face as usual and jumps straight into ‘Down About It’.
Tracks come thick and fast, Dando’s never been big on banter and he picks and chooses from old classics and fresh offerings from their new self titled album. New single ‘Become The Enemy’ is heartfelt and emotion driven, with Dando’s alt-country voice as strong as ever. ‘Alison’s Starting To Happen’, the bittersweet’ Drug Buddy’, ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘ ‘Confetti‘ and the stunning ‘No Backbone’ follow, although it’s clear the crowds haven’t quite got to grips with the new album, the great line ‘ If it ain’t fixed..don’t break it’ in Black Gown is left for the crowd to sing..and there’s an embarrassed silence, which Dando just grins at. Having cleaned up his act, Dando has hardly aged at all, and looks and sounds every bit as great as his did in his hey-day. ‘Into Your Arms’ is sublime, and ‘Ruddlerless‘ is roared back by the crowd. ‘Baby’s Home’ is a witty ballad, the lyrics telling of how a cuckolded boyfriend returns to find his girlfriend with another guy and he crushes his head with a rock. Nothing like a nice murder ballad sung with a smile!
As his guitarist and drummer sidle off to the side of the stage, Evan treats us with a solo section, reappearing already wearing his jacket to leave, but armed with his acoustic guitar, “I’m taking requests!” ‘Outdoor Type’ sways towards country, and Dando’s admiration of Gram Parson’s shines through in a cover of ‘I Just Can’t Take it Anymore‘ “Not many people know this one..not even me!” he grins, and he’s off. 20 minutes of acoustic versions of tracks new and old, ‘Frying Pan’, ‘All My Life’, the stunning ‘Different Drum’, ‘Style’, ‘Divan’, ‘Stove’ and finishing off the night with ‘Steve’s Boy’
Tonight Evan Dando is calm, bashful and humble in front of a packed out Forum. There’s no fanfare, no amazing light show, no backdrop – it’s a simple set which is all about the music, and you leave feeling inspired that he can come back after so long in the wilderness, and still be every bit as talented as ever. But as the saying going..if it ain’t broke…