Hoarse Of Voice, At The 930 Club, The Dandy Warhols Still Have Much To Say

Dandy's Rule 1Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s voice was shredded from the back-to-back New York gigs this weekend, part of the price we always pay in D.C. getting first-rate bands on second-rate evenings (Sundays or Thursdays.) With show-must-go-on enthusiasm and a decidedly low-key vibe, the set was still powerful, evenly drawing from the first three albums while — and this was most delightful — showcasing how good are the best songs on Distortland, their first really good new album in some years.

That songs like “Search Party,” “All The Girls In London,” and the Cars-like “You Are Killing Me” more than held their own with faves like “Plan A,” “I Love You,” and “Bohemian Like You” is the best news we can deliver.  It has been a while since the Dandys’ new stuff sounded as vibrant as what they launched into space with during their late ’90s rise, and that Distortland has been on near constant rotation on our hard drive is as welcome news as spring’s arrival.

Dandy's Rule 3Courtney’s voice notwithstanding, the band played as well as they did when performing the entirety of Thirteen Tales Of Urban Bohemia here there years ago. There’s something remarkably sporting about a band that remains a foursome after all these years, with no calling in the supporting cast to deliver the goods. Brent De Boer remains one of rock’s great unheralded drummers, a timekeeper to be sure, but dynamic when it’s needed.  Peter Holmstrom is unflashy in his floppy hat, but hangs the wire holding up the canvas on which Courtney paints the songs.  Zia remains the heart and soul of the band, playing one-hand keyboard bass, leaving the other free for tambourine or keyboard frills.  If there is a single instrument in the Dandys possession you most want to hear, it’s Courtney’s voice, and though last night it was hoarse, he earnestly powered through.

Dandy's Rule 2Some years ago, in frustration, we wrote an obituary of sorts for what has been, and remains, one of our favorite bands.  We were struck by how, in contravention of the Dig! dichotomy, it was the Brian Jonestown Massacre that was thriving, the Dandys, on record at least, shadows of their former greatness.  Few things give us more pleasure than to report that, Yeah, Zia, you are still great live — and on record, showing new life, new possibilities, new things to say.

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