It’s a Shame About Ray

Friday night I went to see The Lemonheads play live at Leeds University.  I would have been about 14 when I would copy my brothers vinyl to cassette using his massive 80’s stereo and then listen to them on my massive 80’s Walkman.  I was heavily influenced by his taste in music which spanned Sugar to Sepultura and The Cure to Corrosion of Conformity.  It was a great music education, but sadly one that I never made my own and now when someone asks me what music I like, I tend to mumble something about a band with enough conviction for them to change the subject.

As my brother and his friends reminisced about going to see the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead when they were touring small bars and clubs, I reflected on live music opportunities missed during my teenage years.  So I jumped at the chance to go and see an aging Evan Dando belt out tracks from their 5th album ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘.

The Bearded Lady

We turned up to the gig fashionably late having made our way via a couple of public houses, I even nipped to Mr Foleys to quench my thirst with a pint of Durham Brewery‘s ‘Bullion’ and try Magic Rock‘s ‘Bearded Lady’, a 10.5% Imperial Stout which did not disappoint.  Once inside the University building we just had time to grab a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, before taking our place behind the sound desk.   The average age of the crowd was probably 35 and you could tell.  A sea of heads nodding to the beat in appreciation in what was a subdued [world weary] crowd.  As we were treat to every track from the album I sipped on a pint of Tuborg and took a trip down memory lane; remembering listening to these tunes while trudging the paths of my paper-round, on the school bus when I should have been talking to my girlfriend, and when I was old enough to make it into Tumblers night club where the Red Stripe flowed freely.

Image from Beersay

Music was definitely the focus of the evening but beer is never far from my thoughts and as I looked onto the sound desk, and beyond, I was intrigued by one of the engineers as he swigged from a two-litre milk carton.  I’m not saying this wasn’t milk, but I reckon it was a milkshake of sorts.  On the stage, Evan Dando refreshed his vocal chords between each song with a hit from a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Rock n’ Roll baby!

The whole feel of the gig was rough-n-ready with a slightly awkward stage presence while a film of what looked like an episode of ‘Police Camera Action’ was projected onto the wall behind the band, all added to the atmosphere and a performance of little polish.

It was a great night out with my brother and some friends and we even had time to nip back to Mr Foleys for a few jars, with Hardknott Dark Energy fitting the bill nicely.  Music and beer, what’s not to like.

  1. “Rockin Stroll” 
  2. “Confetti”
  3. “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  4. “Rudderless”
  5. “My Drug Buddy”
  6. “The Turnpike Down”
  7. “Bit Part”
  8. “Alison’s Starting to Happen”
  9. “Hannah & Gabi”
  10. “Kitchen”
  11. “Ceiling Fan in My Spoon”
  12. “Frank Mills”

4 thoughts on “It’s a Shame About Ray

  1. Never been a fan of Lemonheads so can’t comment on the act, sounds like a good night though and I reckon me & your bro would get on from his musical tastes. I used to go to a lot of gigs and have seen some massive bands playing small venues which I love as stadium gigs are generally overpriced, cattle market shit. The band are half a mile away and you pay upwards of £4 for a pint of piss poor beer.

    I did see Arcade Fire at the MEN earlier this year though and although my comments stand about stadium style gigs, I dropped on there being feet from the band and at stage level. Probably the most energy I have ever seen on a stage over hundreds of live concerts, massive co-ordinated instrument changes from the several band members, above all though they just looked like they were having a ball, BRILLIANT!

  2. I wanted to go to that gig but completly forgot about it. A few of my friends went went they are fans of the earlier stuff. I love this album and like yourself discovered it in my late teens….

    Sod it…I’ve just put it on my iPod. Rockin’ Stoll is a cracking opener to any album.

    By the way Sugar’s Copper Blue is one of my favourite albums of all time.

    • I think they play again in Sheffield although I may be getting mixed up and I’m talking about a gig that went before Leeds?

      I’m mainly a fan of just the two albums ‘Come on Feel’and ‘Shame about Ray’ but that’s all I had available to me at the time…must find the other albums and give them a go.

      Copper Blue is brilliant…I even had a copper blue t-shirt, which I think my lovely wife may have convinced me to give to charity, although I don’t remember the conversation hmmmm

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