Reviews \

When Life Gives You Lemonheads

PHILADELPHIA: Evan Dando and members of the Descendants sweeten up the Trocadero crowd.

While Holland’s Racoon yodeled and whistled their way through anacoustic riff rock that sounded like the Proclaimers covering U2, alarge, round man in Bermuda shorts ambled around the Trocadero Theatrelast night (Dec. 20), obviously long past caring what others might havethought of him. Where did he fit in the demographic of this audiencegathered to see the Lemonheads, a group split down the middle betweenold school fans who still own those first Taang! records, and those whoonly know of the band’s Simon and Garfunkel cover of “Mrs. Robinson”from Wayne’s World 2? Did he wander in from the street? Was he here to rock out? Was there a particularly good beer special on tap?

No.This man — Bill Stevenson, former sticksman for the Descendents — washalf of the Lemonheads’ latest rhythm section. With Karl Alvarez onbass, the two former punks provided a rougher counterpoint to EvanDando’s slacker charm; they added extra muscle to the Lemonhead’sjangly, catchy guitar parts, and laid down a firm foundation thatwouldn’t be torn apart by the occasional tornado of feedback. Andclassics such as “Into Your Arms” and “My Drug Buddy” came across likemodern versions of surf music, complete with sunny, laid-back melodiesand crashing drum rolls. Dando showed off his voice and sense of humoron a solo rendition of “The Outdoor Type.” Before bringing the bandback on, Dando looked around the Trocadero, flashed the audience amischievous smile, and said, “I always get a kick playing here, ’causeI know my father used to come here when it was a burlesque joint.” Oldcollege fave “It’s a Shame About Ray” brought the charming evening outto a close, while Dando’s pure joy of playing with new members overtookthe entire room.

We asked:The Lemonheads are named after the candy, which is sweet on the insideand sour on the outside. What other candy would you name this bandafter?