The Dandy Warhols, Los Huevos, Bob Harrow @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney (29/05/11)

Roughly eight months since their last joint around Australia with Parklife, The Dandy Warhols have found themselves back in Sydney in a far more suitable venue than wet parklands; the warm and cosy The Enmore Theatre. The lack of any security barriers meant the early birds were eagerly pressed up against the stage and the closeness of the audience was indicative of the special night ahead.

The first surprise of the night was the unannounced entrance of Bob Harrow of Immigrant Union, Dandy’s drummer Brent DeBoer’s band on the side. Armed with only an acoustic and a harmonica Harrow rolled out some of the Union’s stripped back folk and country songs. The sound echoed in a still fairly empty theatre, but the ending of each song was met with a confident and deserved applause.

Harrow’s spare and brief set was highlighted with the introduction of a petite blonde to perform two duets and it wasn’t hard to draw comparisons to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, but their performance ended before the homage could lose its charm.

Instrumental Brisbane lads, Los Huevos were a tight and engaging quartet who made up for what they were lacking in a singer was made up for with a theremin, audio samples and tight surfer rock.

Throughout their set they showcased their slick performance as a unit and call and response routines between drummer Jeff and guitarists Steve and Will, shrouded by simple yellow light and shadows, gave added to the vintage feel of their guitar riffs. They weren’t re-writing the book on rock music, but they knew it word for word; the band justifying their slot on the bill with every riff.

With their gear set up in a straight line at the front of the stage, The Dandy Warhols strolled into position with little fan fare, it takes a while for the crowd to notice they’ve snuck out of the darkness and smoke. Easing into their set with Mohammed, from Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia all eyes and ears of the now bustling Enmore are on the group; Peter Holmstrom’s guitar screaming out the familiar riff as the band sit in their laid back groove.

All thought of this being a chilled out show was squashed however by the triple threat of rockers, Solid, We Used To Be Friends and Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth. There were handclaps, sing-alongs and bouncing galore as the Dandys energised the room and made people forget they had to work the next day.

The nights second surprise came when the fantasy of anyone who has yelled out a song name at a concert came true. At one noisy punters request, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and gang ripped through the not oft played Cool As Kim Deal and the air was alive with the sound of Sydney’s best “bah, bah, bah, baahs”

The Dandy’s were relaxed and having a ball on stage, main man Courtney was chatty, even taking a photo of the crowd on his phone. With no album to push they were cherry picking their set from their entire discography, with pixie-like Zia McCabe descending from her throne of synths and electro gizmos to discuss song choices with the others and, in keeping with the set list surprises, two new songs were played; The Wow Signal and Rest Your Head.

The energy subsided during the middle of the show, taking an opportunity to showcase some of the bands longer and slower numbers. Courtney swapped between microphones with different effects and sometimes switched from guitar to percussion, keeping what could have been a mood killing change in pace exciting and interesting. The slower period culminated in a solo performance from Taylor-Taylor of Everyday Should be a Holiday, turning one of his microphones to the crowd who responded en masse, showing that you can play a song any kind of way if it’s got a great chorus to sing.

With the return of the rest of the band members was the return of the night’s earlier energy. Warhol live staples like Horse Pills and Get Off appeared, as well as hit song and commercial jingle Bohemian Like You. It was two hours in, however, that the nights biggest treat was introduced, as members of The Vines were brought out to jam on It’s a Fast Driving Rave Up with the Dandy Warhols Sixteen Minutes. Fans of the Dandys were ecstatic with this classic track and fans of both bands were rewarded with watching them wig out together.

Casually finishing with a bare bones Country Leaver showed that there may not be a better time to see The Dandy Warhols, free from large touring schedules and record sale pressures, they are just having a fun time being in a band and playing what they feel like, how they feel like.