Friday, December 3, 2010

The Dandy Warhols at The Commodore

The Dandy Warhols have always been a guitar band. There was the exception of their sixth album, 2003's Welcome to the Monkey House, which was an electropop side-project in all but name, having been produced by Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes. The record label took things further than The Dandys were comfortable with, resulting in the band releasing the original mix of Monkey House in 2009 as The Dandy Warhols Are Sound. The Monkey House version of the album is actually better, but it's still a bastardization of who The Dandy Warhols really are—a rock band that has spent their career caught between the post-grunge underground rock snobs (mostly journalists) who think they're sellouts and the psychedelic stoner rockers who love them anyway. In either case, they're not an overproduced pop band, but The Dandys really don't give a fuck. Sure, they were never major label material anyway, but whatever—now they have their own record label and all the benefits from years of major label publicity.

When it comes to their live show, they still just do whatever the hell they feel like doing. They began the show with no entrance, no lights were dimmed, but as soon as they walked onstage, they went into a distorted, noisy and altogether monstrous version of “Be-In”, the opening track off their sophomore album Come Down. “We're a dramatic shoegaze band that plays music so epic that your whole body will hear it when you close your eyes. Just kidding! Now we're a pop band!” No one actually said that, but they went straight from the throbbing massiveness of “Be-In” to their electropop hit “We Used to Be Friends”, aka the Veronica Mars theme song. But, rather than playing it the way Duran Duran intended, they made it a guitar song, and did an OK job of it.

By this point, the cloud of smoke over the stage from the smoke machines and the cloud of smoke over the crowd (of a more natural origin) had joined. Everyone was blazing and I was starting to feel high just from breathing. I don't know exactly where the Dandys lie between stoner rock and alternative rock or grunge or whatever, but in Vancouver, all rock is stoner rock. Call them what you want, but the Dandys are rockstars. We came to see a rock show and damn if they didn't give it, playing song after song from all over their discography, drinking and bantering between songs about how they were going to take all 900 of us at the sold-out show to Morrissey's for the afterparty—200 people inside and 700 on the street, having a toke with the band. But mostly, the just rocked out nearly two hours. At some point around the end, it looked like they were going to finish with some ridiculously random beatboxing and sound effects back-and-forth between Court and Zia. I think they played something after that, but by that time I was too exhausted, thirsty and high from second-hand tokes to remember or to take notes. No encore necessary—I think one guy yelled “one more song!” and then realised that the Dandys had just sated us with a show more than twice as long as most bands will do nowadays.

Catch The Dandy Warhols in Seattle tonight (Friday) or any of their six remaining west coast dates!

If I just introduced you to the Dandys for the first time with this sweet review, here's a couple tracks to get you started.
The Dandy Warhols - Be-in (1997) (YSI)
The Dandy Warhols - The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers AKA The Ballad of Sheriff Shorty (2008) (YSI)


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