It’s not surprising that a band that calls itself the Dandy Warhols would be made up of a group of musicians eager for fame and all the excess that it brings, as this flamboyant Portland, Ore.-based coed quartet obviously is. What is surprising is that the Dandy’s psychedelic 1960s twist on early-’90s British shoegazer bands (like Ride) may actually be the vehicle to bring them that success.
In the studio, the group’s self-acknowledged debt to such forebears as the Velvet Underground makes for occasional moments of sweeping magnificence. But on the whole, the band’s recent second album, ” -The Dandy Warhols Come Down” (Capitol), is often little more than pleasant, sort of familiar-sounding spacey background music.
But at the bustling Troubadour on Tuesday, the Dandy Warhols played their best local show in recent memory (we’ll just forget about that show at the Palace earlier this year), expanding on the mellow meandering of their mid-paced songs with an adventurous spirit that seemed to surprise even the band members.
Frontman Courtney Taylor looked every bit the debauched rock star, playing up junkie chic even as he sang, “Heroin is so passe,” the key line from “Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth.” But he seemed genuinely humble when the band was called back for an encore, claiming it was an only-in-L.A. occurrence. He then satisfied the fans who had been yelling for the song “Green” all night.
Keyboardist Zia McCabe had her own ideas about stage posing, giving at least as much effort to the handling of her ever-present cigarette as she did to her music. She and drummer Eric Hedford injected many of the tunes with trippy sounding effects that gave the music a celestial quality.
The show’s regular set ended with a bit of seasonal flavor, as the Dandy’s offered their grungy update of “The Little Drummer Boy,” followed by an energetic take of their own “Every Day Should Be a Holiday.”
The Dandy Warhols would appear to face a pretty large task if their apparent goal of world domination is to succeed, considering the somewhat dated eccentricity of their music. But when did that ever stop Andy Warhol?