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Concert Sun Jun 10 2012
Seventeen years into their career with eight studio albums, The Dandy Warhols seem pleased than ever to take the stage and hear their fans singing along to all their favorite songs. The Portland four piece always does a good job of picking out the songs that fans remember best from throughout their career with a good sense of pacing that makes the audience feel both the faster drive of the edgier songs "Bohemian Like You," "We Used to be Friends" "Boys Better," and "Get Off" all being some great examples. But the band also helps you experience the velvety lushness of the melancholy lingering tracks like "Good Morning," so rich with texture one could feel it bursting and by the time lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor started singing "Godless," I swear he had a whole group of spiritual devotees to his indie rock religion.
It was a real treat seeing The Dandy Warhols at The Metro after seeing them at the larger Vic Theater on Halloween 2010. This gave the show a more intimate feeling to it and the sound was enhanced to the point of being impressive. It's undeniable that Courtney Taylor-Taylor establishes a presence with mainly his voice creating an intensely sensual sort of atmosphere. The tracks never dissolve into thin air but always have a sense of heaviness that is almost tangible at their peaks. Although Courtney Taylor-Taylor didn't talk with the audience, even the way he leaned back while playing guitar in these more mellow times seemed sultry. Yet, at other times during their glorious singles, the guitar lines Taylor-Taylor plays soar through, cutting open the space around the stage in a sort of immediacy that would be jarring if it didn't fit perfectly into a brilliant pop song.
It seemed like a fitting treat to hear The Rolling Stones beforehand over the PA and leave the departing crowd with Lee Hazlewood's "Some Velvet Morning," as the house music and it helped both set then sustain the mood. Throughout their 2 hour long set, the band showed moments of pure rockstardom as well as a deep tenderness, as when Courtney Taylor-Taylor sang "Every Day Should be a Holiday" acoustically with the crowd. It made it an interesting show that was also quite memorable.
The band is still in peak form in terms of their timing for their instruments as well. Zia McCabe proved herself adept at playing keyboards, melodica, bass, tambourine, and harmonica while dancing around and making it seem like easy fun. Courtney Taylor Taylor stuck mainly to guitar but did play Roto Tom drums for one song. Most of the songs featured two guitar parts without any bass to emphasize melody over rhythm with the drumming proving the edgy points the songs successfully made. There are few bands that can create such a sustained elevated feeling for a whole 120 minute long set, allowing the songs to swell as their fans swooned around the sweltering night. In a way, it takes a band as accomplished as The Dandy Warhols to make it truly work and they succeeded yet again. Zia McCabe pronounced that Chicago's audience was the best yet, making the ending even more bittersweet.