Live: Dandy Warhols @ Terminal 5, 9/17

Music Reviews
Live: Dandy Warhols @ Terminal 5, 9/17

More than a few concert goers were likely intrigued by the scheduling of The Dandy Warhols two days apart from The Brian Jonestown Massacre,who performed at The Music Hall of Williamsburg on the 19th. The personal lives of both bands were viscerally exposed in the 2004 documentary Dig!, a 7-year rock ‘n roll train wreck of brilliant filmmaking with highlights including a camera shot of bandmates snorting cocaine from underneath a glass table and the relationship of lead singers Courtney Taylor-Taylor (The Dandys) and Anton Newcombe (BJTM) transform from musical soul mates to bitter rivals.   


In light of the film, many critics made the argument that BJTM was the superior band, and that The Dandys were all narcotics and decadence without the self-destructive genius (which Newcomb had in excess) to validate their music. While superficially true, the accusations greatly underestimated the musical prowess of The Dandy Warhols. Their sophomore album, 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia, was an unforgettable travelogue of meditative audio, laced with catchy hooks and drug humor. Its follow-up, Welcome to the Monkey House, was a self-conscious dive into rockless synth pop and 80s nostalgia. And three years after seeing Dig!, I was still more enthused at the site of the Dandy Warhols when I saw that they were coming to Terminal 5 for their “biggest show in New York.”

Live, the Dandys’ music is thin yet addictive. Taylor’s songs predominantly consist of three to four chords at the most, and he spends the majority of his verses seductively whispering his lyrics until he overcomes his sense of detached irony cool to actually sing the chorus. But this band can still take you places inside of your head that no other can. The resonant thrum of hollow-bodied guitars and droning synthesizer white-washes don’t sound quite as intoxicating by anyone else inspired by 60s-era British psycheldelia, and unlike similar-minded groups The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Morning After Girls, pop simplicity and sex appeal make the Dandy Warholes experience a much smoother rabbit hole to fall down into.


The group possesses a cockyness and showmanship that usually leads to their crucifixtion in the press, not unlike the critical reception of other party bands like Kings of Leon. Once you begin to understand that Courtney Taylor-Taylor believes that rock’n roll stars are actually stars and not audio-psychiatrists there to lead you through your problems, The Dandys’ charm and swagger becomes more blatant and enjoyable. Hearing them riff through singles “Bohemian Like You,” “Godless,” and “We Used To Be Friends” wasn’t only enjoyable because of the music, but because of how oblivious the group was to any goal besides enjoying itself.

The crux of the show arrived with “Boys Better,” the insanely repetitive mind-meld of Beatles guitars and shrieking organ that could have lasted all night if the band had let it. The mix itself could barely find a guitar riff in the drums and synthesizers, but getting lost in Taylor’s stage presence and keyboardist Zia McCabe’s tambourine groove was the closest Generation Y will ever come to the psychedelic antics of forty years past. 


Related links:
The Dandy Warhols: …Earth to the Dandy Warhols
Taking Digs: Brian Jonestown Massacre vs. The Dandy Warhols
ATP schedule announced; My Bloody Valentine taps Trail Of Dead, Yo La Tengo, more

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