The Dandy Warhols The Roxy Lounge Sunday, May 20, 2012
You'd be hard-pressed to find a band as crowd-pleasing as The Dandy Warhols. On Sunday night, the Portland-based quartet covered all their bases, unwinding into shoegaze drifts of fuzz that sent out waves of psychedelic charm balanced by catchy power-pop sing-alongs.
This was the band's first stop in the Valley in almost 14 years. Courtney Taylor-Taylor told the crowd, "Our first time playing in Scottsdale, none of this was here," he said, referring to the crowded Old Town strip.
"We played in a strip club attached to a wrecking yard," Taylor-Taylor said. "Those are my two favorite places, combined into one!"
The show wasn't without some technical hiccups. First, the doors opened around 9 p.m., though advertisements promised 7 p.m., and the thirsty stoners and partiers lined up outside the door were grumbly. Once things kicked off, the monitors kept blowing out, sending screeching feedback into the crowd. Oh, and at one point, keyboardist Zia McCabe was standing in gum.
The band made up for any nuisances with with a distorted version of "Be-In" before moving smoothly into "We Used to Be Friends" and "Not If You Were The Last Junkie on Earth." If the last two tracks are any indication, the band is still harboring some feelings, good or bad, toward The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe. Even after the show, when I asked Taylor-Taylor what they planned for the band's upcoming 20th anniversary, he laughed and said, "We were thinking of doing a 20/20 vision tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. . . "
You can definitely tell The Dandys have a firm grasp on their history. Most of the setlist highlighted tracks from 2000's Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. Not surprisingly, "Bohemian Like You" and "Get Off" coaxed some of the most crowd singing, and when Taylor-Taylor told fans to chant the absent trumpets on "Godless," the audience did so happily. The mood was complete with as much swaying, hand-waving and vibrating as the venue could fit. Few turnouts, especially in Arizona, are this receptive.
Arizona Highway Patrol was less receptive earlier, as Zia McCabe told the crowd. "I went to jail this morning," she smiled grimly, although she wouldn't say what landed her in handcuffs. "Thanks, Arizona."
But nothing seemed to get The Dandys down. They turned the drone on full blast with "Nietzsche" and "Ride," a song they hadn't played in a while, they said. The crowd was under a spell, getting more energetic with each track, especially the theatrics on "Last of the Outlaw Truckers" or the nod to 1997 with "Boys Better." Nothing The Dandys threw out rang hollow.
"We don't have any outfits to change into for the encore," Taylor-Taylor told the crowd. "So we'll just do it now."
Someone in the crowd yelled, "If you don't have any outfits, play naked!"
Laughing, the Dandys kicked into "Country Leaver," grooving within the bouncy, folk riffs as they got the crowd to dance for one last song. Surprisingly, The Dandys only played one cut, "Sad Vacation," from their latest album, This Machine. When I asked Taylor-Taylor about this, he just said the band had been playing for two hours and they were tired, but he was noticeably let down that the band didn't dive into "Autumn Carnival." I was, too, as this is my favorite new track from my favorite band, but I was more happy that they've avoided the Radiohead route of not playing classic tunes.
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Again, you'll be hard-pressed to find a band as crowd-pleasing as The Dandy Warhols. I hope they don't wait another 14 years to come back. Folks really love them here.
Setlist: (as best as can be determined) "Be-In" "We Used To Be Friends" "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth" "I Love You" "The Last High" "Holding Me Up" "Sad Vacation" "Nietzsche" "Every Day Should Be A Holiday" "Ride" "Horse Pills" "The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers a.k.a The Ballad of Sheriff Shorty" "Bohemian Like You" "Get Off" "Godless" "Boys Better" "Country Leaver"
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: The Dandy Warhols at The Roxy Lounge. Personal Bias: I had heard that the band was really sociable, and I'm glad they still live up to this reputation. I didn't ask to get my picture taken with anyone (because I feel that's really annoying), but I loved being able to just approach these guys and chat with them. The Crowd: Many older folks who remembered the last time the band was in town, with a healthy mix of younger fans sipping PBR and feeling "the vibes, man." Overheard in the Crowd: "I like rock concerts because nobody can hear me fart."