Gig review: Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield, SWG3, Glasgow

Dando and Hatfield failed to master even the basics of singing and playing at times
Dando and Hatfield failed to master even the basics of singing and playing at times
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THIS one-time grunge pin-up couple have their problems – Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando has largely squandered his talent to drugs, while Juliana Hatfield battles an eating disorder and confidence issues.

Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield

SWG3, Glasgow

Star rating: * *

Reunited – purely platonically – the Bostonians are touring as a duo, sharing and trading songs out of mutual support and companionship. But what was to their betterment at this, at times calamitous, show – where even the malfunctioning stage lights acted reluctantly – wasn’t necessarily therapeutic to the listener.

Dando and Hatfield being of a genre that prizes feeling over flair, no-one could have come expecting a masterclass in technique. But it would be unfair on all the other duos out there who do bother to work on the basics to give this pair a pass on their sloppy harmonies and guitar parts, some of which were about as complementary to each other as two divorcees following a messy custody battle. Dando’s curious backing vocals and atonal guitar solo on a bust acoustic during a demolition of The Velvet Underground’s Pale Blue Eyes was proper money-back stuff.

They were better as soloists, Dando delivering an impressive take on Gram Parsons’s Streets of Baltimore, Hatfield a standout skeletal version of her angst-tastic My Sister. Tracks from The Lemonheads’ 1992 breakout album It’s A Shame About Ray were generously peppered throughout, the audience’s singing helping smooth over the qualitative cracks.

Three encores suggested a sizeable proportion of patient fans didn’t feel short-changed. The rest of our attitudes to this gig were best framed by the witty shout-out of one audience member, in reply to a mumbled “thanks for coming” from Hatfield. “Thanks for not coming,” boomed back the dissatisfied punter.