CMW 2019: Lemonheads and Tommy Stinson17 May 2019 / by Graeme Thomson (author)
When I walked into Lee’s Palace I expected to see Tommy Stinson and The Lemonheads. That’s it. So I was surprised when I heard there was an opening act as well, The Restless Age. The band consists of Will Bryant (keyboards), Lee Falco (drums) and Brandon Morrison (bass) who all sing in three-part harmony. The Restless Age is a new project, but the band has been playing behind some big acts for years. They backed up Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, The Waterboys and Graham Nash before deciding to create their own music.
It was easy to tell they have a lot of experience playing together. The drums and bass were in-sync, which helped provide punch to their soft sounds. The harmonies were also fantastic. Each voice was able to stand out while enhancing the other two. Their harmonious indie rock sound was bright and catchy, especially on the band’s debut single, “Bright Man”. It showcases what the band is great at, creating textures in their songs where each voice compliments one another. I think the Graham Nash influence may have rubbed off on The Restless Age.
Once they finished their set they went to the merch table to talk to fans, leaving the stage empty. Then someone appeared; one man alone. Tommy Stinson.
He walked onto the stage with an acoustic guitar in hand, hanging by his side. As he approached the microphone, he greeted the excited crowd with his drunken charm before playing a relatively short set. Stinson pleased the crowd with a mixture of old songs and some new.
He serenaded the crowd and showed off his songwriting experience from his years with The Replacements and Guns N Roses. As great as he was on stage, Stinson missed a bit of rhythm behind him. It would have been nice to see him with a full band to fill out his sound.
Once The Lemonheads took stage, there wasn’t a moment of silence to be found. They played song after song without pause, continuously for well over an hour.
Frontman, Evan Dando, wasted no time to bust out crowd favourite, “It’s A Shame About Ray”, one of The Lemonheads’ biggest hits, it had everyone singing along. It’s surprising how anyone could hear the lyrics with how loud the show was. Their loud, punky, poppy music filled every inch of Lee’s Palace. The combination of the bass drum booming and Dando’s use of feedback as a musical instrument made lots of noise. Good noise.
Dando practically played three sets. He opened up with the full band, played a short, five or six song acoustic set before bringing the band back. Playing both electric and acoustic allowed Dando to showcase his talents. He displayed his skill at playing a crunchy punk style with pop hooks in his electric sets and then his intimacy with the acoustic set.
It’s not every day two very successful, veteran acts play an intimate venue alongside an experienced up-and-coming band. This was a show you didn’t want to miss.