Dandy Warhols @ Doug Fir
Joined by 1776
(editor's note - Due to technical difficulties, this is a few days late, but still a great read about a PDX favorite)
Guitarist Pete Holmstrom of famed Portland 2000 veterans The Dandy Warhols will assure you his band is clear-cut rock ‘n’ roll.
“We’re a straight-up rock band that pulls out the occasional weird little trick,” he said before their sold-out show at the Doug Fir Lounge last Saturday night. Five hours later, Holmstrom is gliding a violin bow across his guitar as bandmate Zia McCabe toots a melodica on the other side of the stage. At this point, it’s hard to figure out the Dandy Warhols’ definition of “straightforward.”
Holmstrom said there was nothing special planned for the night’s performance, the group’s first in Portland since their last round of local Christmas shows. However, the Dandies feel a fierce dedication to their hometown, where all members currently reside but drummer Brent DeBoer, who lives in Australia with his wife. Because of their devotion, set list writer McCabe “wanted this show to be extra special since day one,” Holmstrom said.
The evening was full of surprises, as the beloved power poppers turned a number of their songs in a new direction. Dance anthems like “Everyday Should Be a Holiday” became stripped-down sing-a-longs, while singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s drumming added a dub influence to the hazy “You Come In Burned.” A two-hour set placed accessible hits next to reverb-drenched psychedelia, paired with frenetic lights and thick smoke that could even be found in the bathrooms.
The evening was opened with Longview, Washington band 1776, a scruffy quartet playing rock as deeply American as their namesake. Various bits of 21st century classics were littered throughout their music, with influences as soft as ‘50s doo-wop and as unapologetically rough as ‘70s heavy metal. 1776’s testosterone-steeped garage rock differentiated them from the headliners, but a clear connection was heard in harmonies that recalled Taylor-Taylor’s vocal layering.
While Doug Fir was loud and congested from the beginning of the show, the crowd grew in size and energy throughout the night, covering every inch of the notoriously small venue. Tension rose throughout the Dandies performance, which saw everything from minor scuffles in the front row to a pair of violently toppling druggies that were eventually escorted from the premises.
The Dandies became incredibly chatty with the crowd around the middle of the show, discussing everything from fake rivalries with Seattle to the naked bike ride earlier that afternoon. During a bathroom break, Taylor-Taylor gave spectators a chance to make requests and played a solo version of “Sleep.” The audience showed their appreciation by loudly singing alongside the band for the duration of the show.
After rolling through songs off albums including Come Down, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, and their recent release This Machine, the Dandies descended the stage and turned the lights on. The famously encore-shy group gave a ravenous crowd no chance to demand their return, and it was perhaps the only straightforward thing they did all night.
The Dandy Warhols are frequent contributors to the local music scene, and they’ll be playing a larger set of shows this Christmas. McCabe also performs a string of DJ sets around town as DJ Rescue, and she’ll be making her next appearance at Al’s Den on June 30.