Evan Dando, Howler, June 1

According to Handsome Tours, Evan Dando's Australian solo tour is in the name of the reissue of Baby I'm Bored, his hazy 2003 solo record, but the Lemonheads singer/songwriter's sense of occasion is imperceptible at Howler tonight.

Some time after showtime, he's still back stage, audibly hollering something akin to what you'd expect from somebody trying to get into their pants to answer the door.

When he eventually does appear before the anticipatory meat-locker of an audience and hastily sets to strapping on his guitar (with the assistance of guardian-like collaborator Marciana Jones, of side-lark The Sandwich Police), the groggy pools of pink, blue and yellow stage lights expose his squirrelly demeanour.

 Marciana Jones, Evan Dando's band mate in in The Sandwich Police came and went here and there. 

Marciana Jones, Evan Dando's band mate in in The Sandwich Police came and went here and there. 

Later on, Dando will wrestle his way out of the table cloth of an unbuttoned shirt he's wearing over a moth-eaten t-shirt, and he will dump it on the carpeted stage with the delinquent aplomb of a teenager home from school an hour before his folks set to white-knuckling back through peak hour, but there's the imminent 60-song set to start edging through first.

Rather like The Replacements', the hallmarks of Dando's career are his propensity to ebulliently conceive influential guitar-pop that fans still take to heart decades later and his predilection for blacklisting himself from broader mainstream appeal by rolling his eyes back into his head until it's just the cleaner sweeping around him.

Tonight's performance is consistent with this notion.

... Dando’s iconic status as a quintessential monument of 90s alternative slacker-rock means he’s perpetually blessed with the gluey watchability of a Tussaud’s wax figure incarnate.

Barbie hair and drunk-and-disorderly charm in tact, Dando segues between lucid and faithful renditions and throwaway medleys of material from Baby I'm Bored and halcyon-times Lemonheads ('If I Could Talk I'd Tell You' runs about 10 seconds); he human jukeboxes through eclectic covers (everything from Townes Van Zandt's 'I'll be Here in the Morning' to Whitney Houston's 'How Will I Know') and lapses into the occasional trashy open mic-jam night indulgence.

Irrespective of where it hits and where it misses, Dando's iconic stature as a quintessential monument of 90s alternative slacker-rock means he's perpetually blessed with the gluey wathchability of a Tussaud's wax figure incarnate. 

Dando, who recently turned 50, is on a health kick nowadays. He's on record stating heroin is out, which only leaves weed and cocaine.

He performs tonight with a bandaid on his thumb and tremors in the hand that that thumb is attached to but it's his right hand that keeps dropping his elusive orange guitar pick. 

He almost admonishes himself for partying too hard today but after reckoning with himself, resolves to the room that, if it's doing nothing for them, it certainly is for him.

It's one of the many highlights of the show.

Post-script: Dando's New Zealand tour scheduled to follow Australia (June 3-4) was cancelled after he was denied entry into the country.