The Dandy Warhols create and entertain their Bristol audience with an atmosphere of blistering layers of sound and tone supplemented by plenty of posing and wit
The audience anticipation had reached palpable levels by the time The Dandy Warhols emerged from clouds of blue haze to take their places for the first night of their UK tour.
The night was almost entirely filled with clouds of ever shifting noise, layered up to great effect. The Dandy Warhols concentrated on this side of their output, rather than their more bouncy pop. The gig was only broken a couple of times with chat to the audience- who spent most of their time revelling in the mighty progressive noise emitting from the stage. They stopped briefly to tell us about how they had just finished touring in Europe and how strange it was to hear their names pronounced in French and Italian. The rest of the time they rode the waves of sound, immersed in creating patterns, underpinned by a gut-rumbling bass.
The band covered a wide range of their material- there is something to please everyone in this set list. Kicking off with a very slow building ‘Be In’ the band built the night in a very controlled way, carefully ramping up the tension to crescendo with the last few songs- ‘Bohemian Like You’ and ‘Godless’. Their new songs sounded surprisingly established- it already felt like we knew them as classics. ‘Reverend Jim’ broke out of the heady atmosphere about a quarter of the way through the set with its bass driven swagger, followed up with ‘STYGGO’ with its sultry loping beat.
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All members of the band seemed on form with Courtney Taylor-Taylor shimmying, all cheekbones and sass. Crowd pleaser Zia bopped around enthusiastically, often playing synth with one hand whilst keeping time with the tambourine bouncing off of her hip with the other. Sadly she wasn’t very well lit with the rig in the venue- a shame as she definitely did the most work in terms of connecting with the crowd. Particularly at the end of their set when ‘Pete International Airport’ segued into a five minute solo play around with Zia creating an all-mighty whomp on keys and synths, promising us that she had a good time, and she doesn’t say that to just anyone.
The night was a good reminder of quite how many hits the band have- of course there are the songs from the mid-90s that everyone remembers them for- ‘Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth’ and ‘Boys Better’, but there was a smattering of hits from their whole oeuvre. The crowd enjoyed being reminded of just how long a career these guys have had. They are very professional and polished in their delivery whilst managing to keep and inject new freshness into their back catalogue. They must have played ‘Junkie’ at every gig since their second album- for over twenty years, but still keep it live, warping the vocals and harmonies, improvising around the rhythm and feel of the song to keep their psychedelic, stoned dream-feel that infuses this set.
The night proved that The Dandy Warhols are a truly accomplished live act, they know how to shape and deliver a controlled, heavy sound. They play well off of each other, improvising and feeling the room when they can, creating an atmosphere of blistering layers of sound and tone supplemented by plenty of posing and wit.
The Dandy Warhols are on tour in the UK until May 29, 2016
This Dandy Warhols article was written by Fraisia Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Photography courtesy of Lisa Furness.