The 90’s psychedelic-groove rock band from the land before Portlandia by the name of The Dandy Warhols, came calling on the Big Apple in support of their new album Distortland. We caught their second night at the LES’ Bowery Ballroom to revel in the sweaty and blissed trip-out.
Opening the show was the folksy LA harmonies of Miranda Lee Richards, who, as she noted early on, had a long history with the headliner. She got her start in the band Brian Jonestown Massacre, that led to her subsequent appearance in seminal documentary DIG! in 2004 that prominently featured both bands. Since then, the relationship between the two bands has gotten quite ugly, but Miranda has gone on to a vigorous solo career and has stayed close with both sides of the battle. She just released a delightful “Echoes of the Dreamtime,” and she can seriously soothe the savage beast with her harmonies.
Next, it was the Shreveport, Louisiana natives Seratones who brought some wildly flavorful hullabaloo of southern-funk cooking to the house and got the sold out crowd’s blood boiling. Singer AJ Haynes is a true force of nature as she got into spicy fits of Janis Joplin and Tina Turner level hysteria, and the band chowed down on a solid jambalaya style of groovy southern garage rock of the 13th Floor Elevator era mixed with a 60’s James Brown funk, all of which proved to be delightfully delicious. They have the trademarks of a huge success, so I’ll be keeping my ears on ready for the release of their debut album Get Gone on sale May 6th.
The Dandy Warhols were always pretty fascinating for their smooth integration of radical elements. Somehow, they could bring together the unlikely tastes of the rawness of 90’s Pacific Northwest low-fi garage rock of the ilk of Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, and so on as well as the smoother vibe of BritPop and shoegaze genres from across the pond of the like of Blur, Pulp and Stone Roses into a mellow danceable vibe that remind me of many modern bands like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. This show was a great reminder of how effortlessly they get that adrenaline pumping in the crowd. The Dandies create jittering and swaying rhythms that melds the set into one long dance groove that is supremely easy to get lost in. The band was all in tip-top shape too, as fellow founder and guitarist Peter Holmström proved to be to perfect felt-hand groove man, keyboardist Zia McCabe continued to be the amazing creature of chill energy and glowing beauty and I was lucky enough to be dancing in front of, and drummer Brent DeBoer could always drive any rhythm no matter how complex.
The set opened with the mysterious 2001 groove of “Mohammed,” from the Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia album from which they seemed to play a whole lot of during the 20+ song setlist. Taylor-Taylor explained how the song “Pope Reverend Jim” was about the gentle, eternally confused, and often very profound character Jim “Iggy” Ignatowski, played by Christopher Lloyd, in the 1970s television series Taxi. After everyone went off stage to go to the bathroom mid-set, Courtney played a sing-along solo version of “Everyday Should Be a Holiday,” then was convinced and then kind of failed on the start up of a cover of Neil Young’s “Ohio,” but he carried through with miraculous resolve, followed by a chant of “Bernie for president!”
There was some guitar problems that stopped the start of the theme song for the TV show Veronica Mars “We Used to Be Friends,” as Courtney explained that the axe was older than all of us, so we should take it easy on “Old Grandpa,” before realizing it was actually all just the pedals. They finished strong with one of my favorite songs of all time “Boys Better.”
Article: Dean Keim
Photos: Omar Kasrawi