The Dandy Warhols @ HQ, Adelaide (26/05/11)
At some point my companion at this show lent into my ear and said “All I want THEM to do is get off….the stage!”. It was a pretty harsh assessment of the night proceedings in my opinion. They’ve always been a little eclectic those Dandy Warhols, capable of writing fantastic indie dance floor filling classics that will stand the test of times. They are also capable of overly long self-indulgent droning stoner rock jams. I have been buying Dandy Warhols records since Dandys Rule OK? in 1995 and I’m a bit horrified by the mathematic evidence that equals SIXTEEN years, which doesn’t seem possible. So I love the super catchy dance tunes just as much as the space-jam freak-outs, in fact on that first album there’s a track called Its a Fast Driving Rave-up with the Dandy Warhol’s Fifteen & A Half Minutes. It actually runs for about 18 minutes with intro and outro and is one of the most brilliant funky riff heavy Hawkwind-esque and thoroughly epic tracks you will ever hear.
However in a live context the juxtaposition between those two aspects of The Dandys can mean that many people are there to hear the poppier Triple J hits get a bit restless while they are doing the jammy stuff. They tend to play a long set and tonight was close to two hours. But with almost no lighting on the band just blinding spotlights behind them it’s hard to see the band (and would have been a nightmare for the photographers, but I notice our FL shooter did a great job!).
Opening with Mohammed and Solid from the classic Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia from 1999 they are off to a strong start. Through the dark and spotlights we see that Courtney Taylor-Taylor is rocking a Evan Dando 1995 hairdo (The Dando Warhols?) and what looks like a white school shirt. Peter Holstrom is his usual uber cool self. Drummer Brent De Boer is up the back in the dark but you can see his fro from the moon. And Miss Zia McCabe remains the coolest indie girl ever, white jeans and black tee with what looks like a ram skull with wings (bit hard to tell in this light) she’s by her bank of keyboards, sample drums and tambourine. I don’t quite remember which song it was but she did a whole song with one hand in her pocket – damn! Lou Weed from the first album is a great addition for older fans but is still not the turbo boost we need. That comes with We Used to Be Friends from their Duran Duran inspired Welcome to the Monkeyhouse album, now we are cooking! Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth is next and the heat goes up a notch, people are dancing and singing along. Even after over a decade this unlikely alternative classic track about heroin being ‘so passé’, drips indie cool from every pore. We move back down a gear for Holding Me Up and Beast of the All Saints. More Duran inspired goodness with The Last High which is excellent. I Love You is a great example of Dandys doing the droning mantra thing really well. From Come Down their second biggest album is it instantly greeted with a lot of love from the crowd. The first of the new songs is The WOW Signal, it’s a great song album should be out later in the year.
The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Trucker (Earth to the Dandy Warhols) receives a huge cheer from the punters and gets people dancing again. At the end Courtney tells us he is “sweating like Jeffrey Dahmer” a reference to the serial killer. Good Morning from Come Down takes us to another new song called Rest Your Head. Zia tells us it’s the first time they have ever played the song live, so the HQ audience can pat itself on the back for being the first people to hear it. The rest of the band leave the stage for a “loo break” and Taylor leads us through a solo sing-a-long of Every Day Should Be a Holiday. Someone behind me is complaining loudly to their friend that the lights behind the band that constantly blind the audience “are giving me a headache”. I might be reaching for the Panadols myself shortly. You Come in Burned and Wasp in the Lotus glide us toward the final run of songs, and what a run. Four tracks in a row from Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. Four! Hot Damn! Horse Pills has the whole dance floor jumping and people singing at the top of their lungs, but then they start Bohemian Like You and the place goes berserk. Yes it’s a blatant Stones pastiche but I don’t care. Nobody else here cares. It’s an indie pop anthem of the highest order in every sense of the word. Godless is next and it’s walking, dreamy pace lets us keep singing along and get our breath back before they zap us with Get Off. They finish off with Boys Better from come down making everybody happy, none more so than the guy in front of me has been yelling out for it between every song. I was beginning to wonder if he knew any other songs at all. Still he was very happy when they finally got round to it! After some whooping and hollering Zia returns to the stage and tells us they don’t really do encores (evidenced by the fact she has already chowing down on the backstage pizza when she reappears). But sings The Daisy Song solo a Capella and thanks us for coming.
It is not often that I would I’d say I’d prefer to see a band at a festival, but The Dandy Warhols at Parklife last year or their BDO sets a few years ago were more concise, with more hits per square inch (and you could actually see them on the stage). I’ve been somewhat tortured about writing a Dandy Warhols review that isn’t universally complimentary. I love them. I love the records. And I had a great time at HQ, but it was really only a good gig and not a brilliant one.
Mohammed (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Solid (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Lou Weed (Dandy’s Rule, OK? 1995)
We Used to be Friends (Welcome to the Monkey House 2003)
Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth (Come Down 1997)
Holding Me Up (Odditorium or Warlords of Mars 2004)
Beast of the All Saints (Earth to the Dandy Warhols 2008)
The Last High (Welcome To the Monkey House 2003)
I Love You (Come Down 1997)
The WOW Signal (new song unreleased)
The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Trucker (Earth to the Dandy Warhols 2008)
Good morning (Come Down 1997)
Rest Your Head (new song unreleased)
Every Day Should Be A Holiday – Courtney solo (Come Down 1997)
You Come in Burned (Dandy Warhols Are Sound 2009)
Wasp in the Lotus (Earth to the Dandy Warhols 2008)
Horse Pills (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Bohemian Like You (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Godless (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Get off (Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia 1999)
Pete Int Airport Intro
Boys Better (Come Down 1997)
The Daisy Song (Zia a Capella)