It’s a bitterly cold evening in Manchester tonight, as the audience warmly welcome tonight’s support.
Juniore to the Albert halls. As the trio step out on to stage singer Anna Jean greets the crowd with ‘bonsoir’ confirming that we are in the presence of a French band. The best way to describe them, French pop with laid back vocals, Anna on the Melotron, is accompanied by a female drummer and a guitarist wearing all black and hoody face hidden by a metal mask, don’t ask it’s their thing I was told, in truth they delivered a good set all in French. There is enough coming from the band to say you should catch them soon, they are certainly worth finding at the many festivals they seem to booked into this year,
Tonight’s gig is billed as the Dandy Warhols 25th Anniversary as a band, originating in Portland, and possibly best known for the single Bohemian like you, as well as the rockumentary DIG, this has been a path, they have taken, all at their own pace, all in their inimitable style, and most definitely as they wanted it. In truth they are more an albums band rather than a singles band. To the die-hard fan, they are an underrated and indulgent band.
As the band take to the stage, in what I will describe as a poorly back lit setting, which reduced the band to silhouettes on the stage, dry ice covering the stage, only exasperated the conditions. “Forever”, “STYGGO” and “Crack cocaine ranger” open proceedings, I don’t know if it is the poor lighting, the band don’t seem as they have shifted into gear. Or is this the DW doing what they do? McCabe takes vocals on “Highlife” heavily influenced and delivered in a true country and western style.
The murky lighting is interspersed with a barrage of strobe lights and searing lasers, that seem to take things to the other extreme. “not if you where the last Junkie”, brings the band together for a momentary high. “Well they’re gone”, “And then I dreamt of yes” and “All the money or the simple life honey” see the band deliver their neo-psychedelia alternative rock, that many of the crowd have come to see the band perform. The unmistakeable opening to “Bohemian like you”, for many its what they had come for, finally the crowd have been given a chance to let loose, that they did. “Every day should be a holiday” rolls back the years, as the band launch into the penultimate song of the night “Pete international airport”, as the balloons rain down on the crowd, the last song “Boys better”, as the band leave the stage McCabe is last to leave, playing the last few notes on the keyboard.
One thing for certain is The Dandy Warhols are a tight unit, they play and deliver in their own way, certainly tonight’s show was full of nostalgia for those who have avidly supported them over the years, what triumphed in the depth of albums and singles, was not matched by the performance.