With sandy blond hair lazily grown out, his slightly expanded waistline is the only thing the 44 year-old sometime heartthrob hasn’t managed to preserve enviably. Such apparent youth, though, belies a pair of celebrations on this tour – the 25th anniversary of the band and the approaching 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album, It’s a Shame About Ray.
The Lemonheads aren’t a band in the traditional sense, more a vehicle for most of Dando’s recorded output occasionally adorned by a rolling procession of backing musicians. Here he was joined by a bassist and drummer for the more ragged electric parts, interspersed with solo acoustic segments which showcased a richly sandblasted voice at odds with the concert hall setting of Oran Mor’s upstairs auditorium.
Most songs ran into one another and parts of the long, variable setlist felt submerged beneath its best points, but those highlights still endure, from the West Coast twang of It’s About Time and Into Your Arms to the overdriven grunge-pop of Big Gay Heart and If I Could Talk I’d Tell You to the loud, frazzled rush of Style. His lone guitar playing on a cover of The Misfits’ Skull was raw and barely skilled, his rhetoric on closer The Outdoor Type a flashback to grunge’s crossover period – and the set was a reminder of the talents of a much underrated songwriter.