The Dandy Warhols Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON June 3
Published Jun 04, 2012An exuberant Sunday night crowd tried to relive a period of popular music history that many would prefer to forget: the late '90s. The Dandy Warhols did not disappoint them, relying heavily on material from their two biggest albums, The Dandy Warhols Come Down and 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia. The audience, composed largely of people pushing 50, might be compared to an audience of middle-aged women at a New Kids on the Block revival. It all makes perfect sense if that music played a significant role at a significant time in your life, but to observers with less investment, the adulation heaped upon mediocrity bordered on the absurd.
But you have to give the Dandies credit for excellent lighting, showmanship and Courtney Taylor-Taylor's broad vocal range. Songs like "You Were the Last High," "I Love You" and "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" sounded as good as they ever have. Hearing them literally drone on through the by-now-somewhat-tedious psychedelic pop motions, however, hardly inspired a renewed interest in the group.
At the midway point, the band left the stage for their regular pee break. Taylor-Taylor then enjoined the crowd to participate in a sing-along on "Every Day Should Be a Holiday." He complained that an effort to do the same thing earlier in the day during an acoustic show at Sonic Boom didn't go so well. Maybe that's because, while a decent song, "Every Day Should Be a Holiday" isn't exactly "Blue Suede Shoes" in terms of songs people remember word-for-word, and from the period of the Dandy's heyday, it isn't even "Long December."
The Dandy Warhols then rejoined Courtney for the most pared-down, hard-rocking, no-nonsense version of "Bohemian Like You." Nothing to complain about here, but hey: Earth to Dandies -- you may want to drop the nostalgia act, because if you refuse to evolve and plan to keep treading water in pools the size of the Phoenix Concert Theatre, you better hope your audience still wants to dance-jump around and yell out "woo" once they reach retirement age.
The Dandy Warhols are inexorably linked to the Brian Jonestown Massacre because of the 2004 documentary Dig. And while the Dandies provide a tighter, more cohesive and probably more fan-friendly show most of the time, it's the BJM that really deserve the respect. As weird as whatever Anton Newcombe is doing at any given time, he remains on the vanguard, which is about the furthest place from where these Dandies appear to be.