The Dandy Warhols’s ‘Bohemian Like You’ is a song which has been on my ‘indie’ playlist consistently since the late nineties, and since then it has been a song that I have wanted to see live, which is exactly what I go to do last night. Supported by Sulk in Manchester, they are currently on tour to promote their new album release This Machine (24/04/12).
Playing almost immediately after the doors to the Academy 2 opened were Sulk who, considering they’d been broken down on the side of the road about an hour before, put on an exceptional performance. With thrashing drums and 90s sounding guitar riffs running through their songs, Sulk are obviously the children of Britpop but they still very much manage to put their own stamp on the sound. They really soar on their upbeat songs like ‘Wishes’, a track which has that same hopeful and aspiring feel to it that those of The Stone Roses, Suede and The Charlatans did. They clearly managed to win over the audience with their ready-for-festivals sounding tunes.
Following Sulk’s set the venue really started to fill up with a largely older crowd. The Dandy Warhols have been around since the early 90s after all, and their consistent and steady stream of albums has won them and more importantly kept them a dedicated fan base over the years. That was absolutely evident by the level of anticipation in the air as the band took to the darkened stage.
Like any good Dandy Warhols song the gig built as it went on, starting off with solid crowd pleasing tunes and crescendoing into a force that sent the audience into a mosh pit whirling frenzy. Even though they played for 2 hours, this gig did not stall at any point in the middle, even for the slower ‘Every Day Should Be a Holiday’; it gained momentum and pace throughout the evening. Quirky and catchy in nature, their songs translate well on stage. The Dandy Warhols’ personalities match their style of music perfectly. It is not often you witness a band combine grunge with rock, dance and unabashed playfulness with such finesse.
The chatty and charming singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor endeared himself to the crowd with complete ease. His deep, growling voice is truly unique, in a live setting it is an absolute joy particularly on songs like ‘Not if you were the last junkie on earth’. His melodic harmonies are completely in sync with drummer Brent DeBoer. Zia McCabe’s dance beat-laden keyboard beats provided levels of experimentation that were unusual but very welcome, and they are one of the reasons this group cannot be pigeon-holed into one genre. They are dipping their feet into a few at once, and doing it well.
I came away from this gig thinking two things; firstly that The Dandy Warhols are a band who are unafraid to play with their sound even after being around for almost 20 years and secondly, they are a band who clearly still love playing their most popular tracks and it is those two qualities which make them pretty special to see live.
Gig Review by Nic Jones