The Dandy Warhols – Hammersmith Palais
Portland’s finest strolled rather than rolled back into town on Wednesday night. Playing a nigh on identical set to their Cargo show of a few months back, they still manage to clock in an extra half hour’s playing time; languidly drawing out each track, taking their time, taking it easy, displaying a determined bloody mindedness in mainting their laissez faire attitude towards putting on show. So much so that frontman Courtney Taylor Taylor’s drawl makes US comedian Steven Wright sound like a hyperactive child.
Which is not to say that it’s a poor show, far from it. A couple of months on the road has tightened the band up considerably allowing CTT to indulge in a few extra shirtless nah nah nah’s and uh uh uhhhhs along the way, as well as keeping a somewhat contradictory hold on proceedings as they indulge in a little prog style noodling. It’s still more or less a greatest hits set with only a cursory glance at the new stuff yet somehow it’s difficult to complain when you’re essentially getting the tracks you want to hear. And to be fair, no one does.
But it’s not until the second half that the band really hit their stride. It’s an almost indiscernable shift from lazy through to passionately relaxed but the shapes seem less forced, CTT’s smile breaks through his non-commital stage persona and suddenly the DW‘s psychadelic tinted, spaghetti western, high as a kite rock flavourings come into their own. There’s an achingly beautiful semi-acoustic version of Green, dropped in whilst Zia disappears for a pee, and a welcome return for her button cute Daisy song as an encore. Godless shines in all it’s hypnotic glory but the highlight has to be the return of AC/DC’s Hells Bells. With Angus Young’s lead guitar line played out on trumpet whilst the band grind it down to a near standstill it is a moment of inspired genius, intensely silly, and ends with the band coming about as close to ‘rocking out’ as they’re ever likely to.
How much you enjoy a Dandy’s show these days really depends on how well you can take their current pace of life. Never the most active of bands they’re still perfecting the art of live slouching whilst still creating some stand out pop music. And no matter how aloof CTT pretends to be, it’s as much a part of the act now as their ‘one off the wrist’ run through of Bohemain Like You. And with some assistance from the folks in the crowd who went along with Courtney’s request to Smoke It, we had (hazy) blast.