The Dandy Warhols are one of those rare bands who have managed to transcend their origins to become one of the must-see rock bands. While strongly rooted in psychedelic rock, the group has garnered enough cross-genre appeal with appealing songs and a strong stage presence to make one forget they were best known for doing a certain kind of thing.
The Dandys have been reminding their fans that they did that certain kind of thing pretty well on a tour of their classic album 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia, which they are appropriately playing in its entirety to mark its 13th anniversary. Capitol Records will release an extended 13th anniversary edition of the album on Tuesday, June 11. The Dandy Warhols swept through the east coat last week, including a stop at the 9:30 Club last Wednesday, and soon continue across the country with stops in Cleveland, Chicago, and onward.
The band got straight to work when they opened their show at the 9:30 Club, leaping into the 13 Tales with little fanfare. As they played through the 13 songs largely in tracklist order, the nearly sold-out crowd was transported to a certain state of mind as they were awash in the mellow psychedelia of the band’s third album, which started with slow, ponderous songs like “Godless” and “Mohammed” before truly culminating in the band’s most successful chart single, “Bohemian Like You.”
The hit was a welcome bit of rocking punctuation in otherwise polished set that certainly showcased the band’s talents. But I found little inspiration to dance until that point, so I was thankful for the faster pace overall. The band had warmed to its own performance at this point and the upbeat tune was the highlight of the set.
After the 13 songs of the album, the Dandys took a break — which is understandable but also a bit unfortunate because a lot of the audience took the opportunity to leave during the intermission. Singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor and his bandmates like to play long shows, so they came back with 10 other songs, including another personal favorite “We Used to Be Friends” from Welcome to the Monkey House, still probably my personal favorite album by the Dandys.
Taylor-Taylor’s rich voice was made for stagecraft, and it was welcome that he took the time to talk to the audience a bit as the band entered their second set. The give-and-take interaction between Taylor-Taylor and keyboardist Zia McCabe is always welcome as well. They showcase their strong band dynamics when McCabe occasionally pitches in to announce a song or embrace a feel-good moment before a bemused Taylor-Taylor. Guitarist Peter Holmström and drummer Brent DeBoer also were in top form, musically speaking.
Welcome additions to the set included the Dandys’ cover of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” which allows them to just plain have some fun rocking out a little bit more while highlighting their versatility. They certainly put their own spin on the song, however, and it fits almost seamlessly into their setlist.
Otherwise, the Dandy Warhols spread the love to most of their other albums playing a song from each but seemingly neglecting their latest album, This Machine. For that matter, they didn’t really get that excited about This Machine when they toured on it last year. So as usual, the band favored a mix of crowdpleasers from across their career once they were into their second set, and those that stayed were rewarded for it.
If you still haven’t seen the Dandy Warhols play at the 9:30 Club, put it on your to-do list when they come back around in the next year or two. Catching their live show can turn casual fans into true believers.