View more photos in Timothy Norris' slideshow, "The Dandy Warhols, Blue Giant @ Club Nokia."
On Friday night the Dandy Warhols took the stage at Club Nokia and couldn't believe their eyes. "Glad you could find your way into this crazy place," lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor said sounding genuinely relieved, "It looks like the future out there." "I think we're in the movie TRON," keyboardist, Zia McCabe mused later. They did have a point. The fluorescent striped walls that pulsed colors hardly seemed appropriate for Dandy Warhols' sultry set, but then again this was from a band that was standing under lanterns that looked like giant glowing lychees, so really they should have been delighted that the atmosphere had already been set at "bizarre" before they even took the stage.
The crowd was made up of fans that were in varying stages of hipness: ranging from the cool, to the formerly cool, and finally the kids who will be cool as soon as they fully come into themselves. It was kind of amazing how wide the spectrum of ages was from kids who were clearly under the drinking age to couples who were probably planning their retirements in the next couple of years and everyone in between. But I suppose when a band releases a compilation album entitled The Capitol Years 1995-2007 that's going to happen.
Lined up neatly on stage, the four rockers looked completely at ease. Dressed all in white, Zia McCabe was surrounded by noise makers and keyboards. Looking like a mad scientist, she tinkered with all of the sound effects creating the Dandy's signature space age whoops and bleeps. She even showed off her harmonica prowess in a number of impressive solos on "The Legend of The Last Outlaw Truckers."
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Courtney Taylor-Taylor looked every inch the front man with his tight t-shirt and slicked back ponytail. His unmistakable voice sounded a bit hoarse and wavered uncertainly for the first couple numbers, but it quickly eased into the familiar sinister whisper by the middle of the set. His fuzzy guitar solos were complemented by guitarist Peter Holmström who turned them into a wall of sinister sound. Holmström, sporting a captain's hat pulled low over his eyes, hardly looked up from his guitar the entire set. Expressionless, he looked like a sleepwalker, a zombie, hitting his cues from muscle memory rather than conscious decision.
Holding everything together drummer Brent de Boer kept everything on time. He seemed to be watching his band members out of the corner of his eye like a nervous parent: trustingly, but on the alert for disaster. If he was anxious, he shouldn't have been.
The Dandy Warhols played two solid hours of their hits without pause. Classics like "Godless," "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth," and "Last High" were greeted with waves of applause and singing and sounded just as good as it did when they first came out. The only number that sounded a bit rushed was "Bohemian Like You" but one could imagine that they are sick to death of playing their biggest hit. The evening closed with a cover of "Little Drummer Boy" in honor of the most marvelous time of the years, which actually...rocked. Hard as it is to believe, the Dandys gave that tune some edge. Honestly, it was very sharp.
What became very clear by the end of the set was that the Dandy Warhols' songs sound just as crisp and relevant as they were fifteen years ago. The question is are they content to rest on their laurels? Or are the Dandys going to try and break new ground. Only time will tell.