Reviews

The Dandy Warhols: 14 November 2010 - Austin, TX

Greg M. Schwartz

With the horrific state of the economy in 2010, partying like it's 1999 is just what the doctor ordered.

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols

City: Austin, TX
Venue: La Zona Rosa
Date: 2010-11-14

It's a packed house on a Sunday night for the return of these Portland-based alt-rock heroes. It doesn't feel like a Sunday though, because everyone's getting their drink on like there's no tomorrow. The Dandy Warhols never blew up as large in the USA as some of their more well-known peers, but the band created a classic late 20th/early 21st century sound that clearly strikes a chord with the discerning Austin hipster crowd. Perhaps this crowd leans toward the Gen-X age range, but that just makes it feel even more like the late '90s. With the horrific state of the economy in 2010, partying like it's 1999 is just what the doctor ordered.

Guitarist/front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor has said that the band formed as a group of friends who “needed music to drink to”, and they achieved their goal in fine fashion. Take lush, layered guitars, add some Velvet Underground-influenced space jams, mix in some Rolling Stones-type anthemic riffage and a little punk power, pour on some harmonies and you begin to get a sense of the group's infectious sound. The band is touring behind their newly released compilation album The Capitol Years: 1995-2007, a testament to the duration of their hooky songwriting skills. But the band struck out on their own independent label in 2008 and there's a strong indie rock vibe throughout the show, fitting for a band that rehearses in a warehouse space in Portland dubbed the “Odditorium”.

1997's “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth” was a breakthrough moment for the band, and it's an early highlight in the show. “I never thought you'd be a junkie because heroin is so passe,” sings Taylor-Taylor over a surging chord progression that gets the crowd grooving. It's one of the greatest lyrics of the '90s and it's only too bad more music stars of the Northwest didn't share the same view (such as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Alice in Chains' Layne Staley).

“I Love You” dips into the Velvet Underground bag with a slow, steady groove that features an ascending psychedelic progression, accented by some trippy lighting effects. The swirling sound catalyzes a 4:20 moment across the room. “The New Country” features a raucous yet down-to-earth vibe that sounds sort of like a cross between early '70s Stones honky-tonk and early '90s power pop. Keyboardist Zia McCabe adds some harmonies that elevate the sound higher, much as she does throughout the night.

A peak moment occurs with “Every Day Should Be a Holiday”, a classic anthem for music lovers and party people everywhere, and especially here in “the live music capital of the world”. The high-energy rocker features Beach Boys styled harmonies over an up-tempo beat and surging psychedelic progression, which gets the whole room celebrating. The crowd joyously sings along to the infectious chorus, for this mid-November Sunday evening has indeed become a holiday thanks to the Dandy Warhols.

The hits keep coming when the band throws down their classic “Bohemian Like You”. Written to document the band's counterculture scene in Portland, the chord progression is derivative of some early '70s Stones rockers but is creatively used to spark a fresh tune with a modern sound of its own. The wry lyrics also feel like they could just as easily be about Austin.

Taylor-Taylor introduces another tune as being “told by the point of view of a true Texan”, which of course brings a rise out of the well-lubricated audience. “Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers” has a raucous Texas blues sound to be sure and the crowd eats it up. The band keeps the energy flowing with “The Horse Pills”, another bluesy rocker that mixes a Lou Reed vocal style with some more early '70s classic rock riffage, a jolt of post-punk energy and a molten guitar solo. The band keeps playing to the local vibe when Taylor-Taylor says he wrote the next song the first time the band came to Austin.

“Back then I didn't know Austin was the cultural oasis of Texas. I thought it was pure fucking evil,” says Taylor-Taylor to introduce “White Gold”. Thankful chuckles of acknowledgement abound in the audience. Austin is indeed such a cultural oasis as to redeem a state that otherwise probably wouldn't get much love from touring rock musicians. The low-fi rocker about getting drunk and high – a popular recurring theme throughout the evening - recalls the late '60s with its “Gloria”-sounding chord progression and high-energy party vibe. It's easily another fan favorite.

Between the band's excellent catalogue of great tunes and fresh sound, the future seems to remain bright. There's a chemistry between Taylor-Taylor, keyboardist McCabe, lead guitarist Peter Holmstrom and drummer Brent De Boer that suggests these Gen-X rockers are ready to keep on rocking for another decade.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image