I’m running on rock ‘n roll time tonight, and when I arrive at The Warfield I know that the empty hall means that the band is already on. I make my way through the crowd to my usual spot, and am shocked once I reach the floor. It’s roomy down here. Come to find out, there’s no barrier for tonight’s show. This is the second time I’ve seen this in the past couple weeks. No barrier, the band pushed to the front of the stage, and dim lights that let you forget about the balcony made this Dandy Warhols set feel like the most intimate show I’ve ever seen at The Warfield.
It’s interesting to look at TDW up there and to think back to DiG. Here they are, up on stage at one of the city’s most prestigious venues, playing a legitimate set at a normal time to a crowd of happy fans. BJM, love them to pieces, but they are still playing smaller venues at ridiculously late times to a generally pissed off crowd. They are two bands that started in similar places, but TDW took off on this other trajectory because they were willing to commercialize their art. Literally commercialized- how many times has ‘Bohemian Like You’ been used in commercials? But beyond that, TDW have become a truly dynamic band, exploring the elasticity of their sound (synths, Eastern influences, country) and taking it to new and different places.
Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s vocals are truly an instrument in this band, as he stretches his normal low, throaty singing voice to the high end, to lots of ooh’s and ah’s, and the occasional meow-like screams. Anytime Zia McCabe does a back up vocal, the audience hoots. Since the drum kit was in line with the rest of the band, I could actually watch the drummer- Brent de Boer- for once. The guitarist, Peter Holmstrom, provided the psychedelic riffs with no frills. The stage set up behind them consisted of a banner bearing their name- in case anyone forgot (since it is in album titles and song titles, too), as well as panels of lights that lit up like a circuit board with different colors.
The 2 hour plus set spanned their career, creating an ebb and flow of volume and energy. They were quite talkative. They saw a security guard tell someone not to film, so they made a little speech about how they don’t mind if they film, so do it if you can get away with it because venues like this charge people to film. And then if it doesn’t sound good, don’t post it online, but if it does- feel free to post it. They also talked about how they had been to the Love Parade today, and praised SF for still being full of weirdos. They also seemed to take requests from the crowd.
Once things were wrapping up, or so I thought, they would say “we’ve got a few more songs for ya”. Then a couple songs later, “we have a couple left”, which I heard them say a couple times. It was both really funny and made me feel like the setlist wasn’t so set. And, they aren’t an obligatory encore band, which I love.
It may not be showy (though CTT did a guitar jump at one point and Holmstrom broke out the round the world strum at the end), but TDW are an excellent live band. They can be loud or dreamy, tight and melodic, or loose and psychedelic, and all is just dandy.
Setlist (needs help)
We Used To Be Friends
Holden Me Up
I Love You
Dreamt of Yes
You Come In Burned
Now You Love Me
Pete Int’l Airport
TDW performance: 8.75/10
venue (The Warfield): 9/10
value ($25/ticket): 9/10