It was clear, standing in the crowded Enmore Theatre, that among their fans there was an enormous amount of love for The Dandy Warhols. The Portland natives are frequent visitors to Australia; drummer Brent DeBoer has even become a Melbourne local, but the passion of their fans always fills venues with every visit.
Sandwiched between five sold out Melbourne gigs, their single visit to Sydney lured only their most adoring fans, who had the fortune of snapping up one of the finite tickets to the Friday show. Bathed in blue lights the Dandys emerged to a warm welcome and proceeded to hypnotize the crowd with their effortless cool. It seemed only fitting for the set to being with the hypnotic I Love You, off their 1997 album, Come Down.
Kicking off the set with this surprisingly sombre opening allowed the audience to take in the band’s presence and eased them into a performance that would soon spark to life and have the whole crowd dancing. With the first droning riffs many in the crowd became lost in their adoration, but with the unmistakable catchy first notes of Solid, Zia McCabe cut through the tension and ignited the crowd. While she stumbled a little through this intro, falling out of time, the keyboardist quickly found her feet, and as the rest of the band joined in, the atmosphere dramatically shifted to become far more upbeat.
From this point on The Dandy Warhols played a flawless set, catering to the audience with all their biggest singles as well as the exciting debut of their new track All the Girls in London, which gained a welcomed response.
Courtney Taylor-Taylor was as cool as ever, the charismatic frontman managing to pull of plaited pigtails and a woman’s blouse despite his large frame. He seemed entirely at ease on stage and frequently stopped in between songs to tune his guitar and chat to the audience, basking in the atmosphere of the crowded room.
Clearly amused by their presence, he dedicated the popular Lou Weed, off their 1995 debut album Dandys Rule OK, to the police and drug detection dogs who were out in force around the venue that night.
One definite highlight of the set was the stunning performance of The Last High, which demonstrated Courtney’s vocal talent and proved that two decades since their formation, The Dandy Warhols are as impressive as they’ve ever been.
In the middle of the set, Courtney was left alone on stage to lead the crowd through a simplified sing-along of Every Day Should Be A Holiday. Here the crowd responded beautifully to his encouragements and sang back to the stage with few reservations. It seemed that even Courtney was impressed by the audience’s unity and enthusiasm.
In the final half of the set The Dandy Warhols returned to stage to play an satisfying series of back-to-back crowd favourites, including Horse Pills, Get Off and Godless. And when the drumming intro to Bohemian Like You began the audience was clearly ecstatic, the whole crowd singing along to every word.
Near the end they tipped their hats to the Australian music scene with an unexpected cover of ACDC’s Hells Bells and then concluded the set with another Come Down track, Boys Better. The band farewelled the crowd with an extended electronic outro solo from Zia McCabe, which added little to the overall set, but worked well to gradually conclude the night. Before leaving Courtney Taylor-Taylor hinted at the possibility of returning to play some festivals in the next year and with a few new tracks circulating, it appears The Dandy Warhols have no intention of slowing down. After a performance like that this is welcome news.
I Love You
We Used to Be Friends
All the Girls in London
The Last High
Well They’re Gone
(Tony, This Song Is Called) Lou Weed
Everyday Should Be a Holiday (Courtney Solo)
Bohemian Like You
Hells Bells (ACDC Cover)
Pete International Airport