Gig review: The Dandy Warhols at The Cockpit, Leeds

The Dandy Warhols. Picture: Joe Eisner
The Dandy Warhols. Picture: Joe Eisner
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It’s been 13 years since The Dandy Warhols came to mainstream attention with ‘Bohemian Like You’, which was featured in a Vodafone advert.

This sell out, two-hour gig goes some way to prove that there’s considerably more to the Portland quartet than a self-mocking cool. That doesn’t prevent their hipster heart from wryly referencing Lou Reed’s Lexington Avenue, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Nietzsche throughout their 20-year back catalogue.

Nor does their self-awareness stop them from lifting huge rock riffs and psychedelic drones from the Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones and The Stooges before dropping them casually into their own compositions.

This should make their tracks a post-modern, post-rock nightmare of tongue in cheek irony but they manage to sidetrack this by being seriously committed to creating exuberant music while also having huge amounts of fun.

Keyboardist Zia McCabe leads the way in the party atmospherics, waving her hands in the air and energetically playing tambourine throughout the black comedy of ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’.

It takes a while for the other members to warm into the set but once they do guitarist Peter Holmström windmills irrepressibly at the close of ‘Boys Better’, stepping towards the front of the stage for added irony, and front-man Courtney Taylor-Taylor moves to deconstruct ‘Everyday Should Be A Holiday’, one of their biggest hits, by playing it solo and in the style of a man who’s never had a vacation.

It’s a relaxation that sees the second half of the set being a more joyful experience than what’s gone before. An effective greatest hits selection they zoom through the meaty riffs and heavy drums of ‘Horse Pills’, the sardonically light ‘Solid’, and the 60s garage-pop of ‘All The Girls In London’.

The first half of the set, however, shows them at their experimental best. Opening with the slow-burn ‘Be-In’, which is part space rock and part rock out, it passes through the vicious Black Sabbath-esque guitar lines on ‘Everyone Is Totally Insane’ and psychedelic drones of ‘I Love You’.

Coming full circle, they end the set with the playful ‘Daisy On My Toe’. A post-Add N To (X) Korg-fest that’s performed solo by McCabe after the rest of the band exit the stage, it’s a fitting close for a band with much more to their name than a mobile phone advert.

Gig date: June 30

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