» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
David Dondero
Live at the Hemlock
Future Farmer Records

Rating: 4.5/10 ?

January 24, 2005
If Conor Oberst were truly the folk-rock God that critics and fans have purported for years, then, the fact that Oberst contributed to David Dondero's last album, The Transient, and has endorsed him steadily for quite some time, must make Dondero the folk-rock Jesus, right?

If so, Christ, that's sad.

After listening to David Dondero's Live at the Hemlock and finding that Oberst makes no cameo, I am still puzzled by one question: why in the hell has David Dondero released a live album? Seriously, who wants a David Dondero live record unless He appears?

It's not as though Dondero's most recent fans are dying to hear what he sounded like before the arena rock days, for Dondero still plays local shitholes and would probably have it no other way.

More importantly, it's not as if Dondero's performance and between-song digressions are necessarily priceless: though his lyrics are often witty and acerbic, his live attempts at humor consistently flop. When Dondero asks the crowd if anyone is bored after no one laughs at his third attempt at making fun of his drummer's hair, I have a hard time imagining there not being someone present thinking to him or herself, "Yes!"

Live at the Hemlock comes across as a lame, hour-long joke - from the cliché, self-effacing comments to the "band," consisting of Craig Dondero, the "finest percussionist in the world," according to David's sarcastic introductory comments (Craig's drumming is, in fact, rudimentary and superfluous, and can barely be heard in the mix, along with Dondero's guitar, anyway). While having fun during a concert is essential, how it constitutes an exigence for a live release is unclear to me.

If Live at the Hemlock offers casual Dondero fans something to look forward to on future releases, it is the prospect of hearing a studio version of protest song "Pre-Invasion Jitters," the obvious highlight of the set. For three minutes, Dondero sounds focused, his venomous words coming from his lips and not out of his ass.

Unfortunately, "Pre-Invasion Jitters" is nearly forgotten by the end of the 14-song set. The ruined songs and downtime are left unedited from the record, adding minutes of shit to fast-forward through or - even worse - listen to.

While David Dondero is certainly not the Second-Coming, he is surely an artist to watch. With a voice similar to Eleventh Dream Day guitarist/vocalist Rick Rizzo and the lyrical strength of every folk rocker who has influenced him, I wouldn't be surprised if he records a classic.

For now, let's just pray this is his last live release.

Reviewed by Brian Sutherland
The last we heard, Brian Sutherland lived in Chicago. He\'s a friend of Sarah Peters. That is about all we know about him.

See other reviews by Brian Sutherland



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