Follow Us on Twitter

Caught live: The Dandy Warhols at Shepherd's Bush Empire (2008)

Dandy Warhols

Review by Jack Foley

THE Dandy Warhols seldom do things by the book. At Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday, July 23 (2008), they did things their own way and impressed and disappointed in equal measure.

Where most bands toss in greatest hits moments throughout their set and finish with a flourish to the strains of their biggest crowd-pleasers, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and company seemed to do the opposite.

They weren’t helped by the odd guitar problem or the fact that Taylor-Taylor’s vocals were often drowned out by the noise of the lead guitars, bass and drums. His singing style has often been described as laidback, even hazy, but fans struggled to ever decipher his words during the odd moments he took time out to talk to the crowd.

This isn’t to say the night was a write-off; merely one that seemed to lose momentum the longer it lasted.

Things began with a flourish as hits including Godless, Bohemian Like You and We Used To Be Friends flew thick and fast and succeeded in getting the crowd rocking.

Bohemian Like You, in particular, was delivered with a gusto that was reminiscent of the Rolling Stones in their prime and the band gloriously threw back their own years to a period when they were very much rock’s new great hopes.

But at around the midway point – in fact, right after Taylor-Taylor delivered a belting solo version of Everyday Should Be A Holiday – the band changed focus and came over all self-indulgent.

Gone was the crowd-pleasing antics of the first act, replaced instead by long, hazy, drawn out moments of rock psychedelia, or snapshots from the forthcoming new LP Earth To The Dandy Warhols.

The new tracks sounded great musically, and seem to place new emphasis on the guitars, but Taylor-Taylor’s vocals suggest a different, shouty approach that felt a little awkward to say the least. Still, hearing a track for the first time, especially live, is not always a good thing and given the sound discrepancies at the Shepherd’s Bush venue, perhaps not really a useful indicator.

In a set that lasted almost two hours (and which ground to a slow halt at around six minutes past 11pm), the Dandys did manage to toss in one “encore” style classic, in the form of Boys Better, but they still persisted in finishing things on their own terms and the final track was more of a ramshackle guilty pleasure than the last high we’d been anticipating.

So, a mixed night with the Warhols, then. And it remains to be seen (and heard) whether Earth To The Dandy Warhols can surpass the achievements of their last LP, the overlooked Odditorium. Find out more about the album

The Dandy Warhols played Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

  1. I was at the gig too, but have to disagree. The Dandy Warhols rocked the joint and everyone seemed pretty pleased to be there with them.

    Jake    Jul 29    #