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- Posted on Jun 17th 2011 4:20PM by Lonny Knapp
Courtesy of Juliana Hatfield | Myspace
Dando is the frontman and creative force behind the Lemonheads, while Hatfield was a member of the indie band Blake Babies before launching a successful solo. Both artists enjoyed a success in the '90s before personal demons took over and drove their career into the ground.
For Hatfield it was an eating disorder, for Dando it was drugs.
But the Boston natives put those demons in check long enough to stage a recent concert tour, and the Toronto crowd was appreciative.
Taking the stage, armed with acoustic guitars, the one-time alt-rock pinup couple took turns accompanying each other on stripped down versions of '90s rock classics.
Of the two, Hatfield seemed most engaged. Though she claimed that "she didn't really care," she didn't miss an opportunity to remind the audience that her hometown Boston Bruins beat out the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup days before. The crowd (rather unpatriotically) responded with loud cheers.
She also promoted her upcoming fan-funded release, 'Speeches Delivered to Animals and Plants.'
But while Hatfield had new material to promote, Dando did not. When he sauntered on to the stage, there was an audible sigh from the audience. It was like few could believe that he was alive.
Despite years of trashing his system, Dando retains the disarming good looks that made him hard to take serious in his prime. Dressed in ripped jeans, a plaid shirt, and with nary a grey hair in his long main, it was as though he emerged from some long-buried time capsule from the golden era of grunge.
With the duo seemingly picking tunes at random from each other's back catalogue, it became clear that the audience saved the most love for Dando's contributions.
The crowd ate up Hatfield's 'Choose Drugs,' but went wild for Dando's 'In to Your Arms,' 'Down About It,' and especially the set closer 'Drug Buddy.'
That every second song had some not-so-subtle reference to drug use didn't seem to be lost on the crowd. With his eyes glued shut, Dando demonstrated why he was once considered among best indie singer-songwriters. But between songs as he self-consciously averted his eyes and looked as though he couldn't wait to get backstage, one couldn't help lament another great talent surrendered to addiction and apathy.