Phillyist Playlist: Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield at World Cafe Live
What better cure for the Monday blues than a little alt-rock fantasy soap opera of sorts at the World Cafe Live? Tonight we have Evan Dando [MySpace] and Juliana Hatfield [MySpace], two former poster children of the grunge movement with a lot of history together. Both from Boston, Hatfield and Dando have gone through various iterations of living together, rumored knocking boots (Hatfield says she belongs to "a distinguished, though probably small, group of girls who can claim the distinction of having said no to going all the way with Evan Dando ... I lost my virginity to Spike Jonze"), breaking hearts, and making music over the last twenty-five years. They recently reunited for two shows in New York City, which then inspired a small fall tour through the East Coast that continues into University City tonight.
We have already thoroughly described Dando to you in the past, but you may have seen Juliana Hatfield for the first time as an angel on My So-Called Life, or maybe when Ben Stiller nabbed her for a catchy track on the Reality Bites soundtrack. Hatfield carries herself differently than she did during the 1990s grunge revolution, but regardless, her voice should be an angelic complement to Dando's haggard baritone.
Recent stories portray Hatfield and Dando as close friends helping each other in different ways: Dando giving Hatfield inspiration to continue to perform, and Hatfield giving Dando friendship during what appears to be another dark time in his life. Hatfield has said she intends to quit music after this tour, while Dando thanks Hatfield for taking him away from the "mind fuck" of having to play music in order to make money. Dando clearly maintains some of that charming grunge anti-authoritarian mentality (last MySpace post: "I registered for the draft so I'd never have to vote—and I never will!!").
This is a no-frills tour in the best sense of the word. Dando and Hatfield are rolling into town with nothing but their guitars and songs that each have written with other musical projects throughout their careers. Though she released an album in 2010, Hatfield doesn't appear to be actively promoting anything on this tour (though you can check out her blog for frequent updates). Rumors of an album are in the works, not nothing definitive yet. So it seems that this tour's raison d'etre is the duo's excitement and eagerness to play together, and that's reason enough for us.
It should be interested to hear Dando and Hatfield sing each other's songs, many of which are written about the other person. Hatfield has made it pretty easy of late for us fans to identify which songs are about our favorite flannel-wearing sexbomb; she named one "Evan" on her last album, Peace and Love. Check out the duo performing it here. There is also her "Choose Drugs," a more abstract yet poignant track.
We have some idea about how the two will sing these songs based on shows they did in late 2010, but we also know that they have been switching it up on the spot while on stage. Check out a YouTube clip of the duo playing the Lemonheads' classic "My Drug Buddy" at the first of their New York City gigs. Come see two great friends with a lot of musical love to give and plenty of gas left in the tank.