COMMODORE BALLROOM, JUNE 22, 2013
In honour of the 13th anniversary of the Dandy Warhols’ breakout album, 2000’s Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, the band is touring to perform this very stunning, significant album in its entirety. I’m sure many fans enthusiastically anticipated this show, and you could feel the energy of this while waiting for their set to begin at the packed Commodore. The crowd had been warmed up by the riveting and impressive opening set by fellow Portlanders the Shivas. Their music was pulsing, dynamic, intense and fun. I’m a big fan of their style of music, although lately I’ve been finding it sometimes a bit tiresome that there seems to be such a bandwagon of bands doing the slightly shoegaze-y style of reverb drenched and retro dream pop. What makes the Shivas stand out, though, is that instead of being aloof, their music is in-your-face and immediate. There’s a driving force that blends any dark, moody and psychedelic elements with a more upbeat and energetic quality, too.
The Dandy Warhols took the stage soon after, and the crowd responded with whoops and shrieks. This continued throughout much of the show and there was much dancing, fist-pumping, liveliness and dare I say even a feeling of unity amongst the people who regaled in delighted music communion. I always think of The Dandy Warhols as being very much a band that’s about people, neighbourhoods, community and friendships. This was very evident at this show as that was very much the social atmosphere and mood.
The Dandy Warhols swirled through their set with dreamy, trippy existential songs. Their hit song “Bohemian Like You,” with its playful, dance-y declarations, proved to be a huge crowd-pleaser and brought the house down.
One of my favourite qualities about the Dandy Warhols’ music, especially when performed live is that there’s often a sense of what I sometimes call “travelling” to their music. Going to their concerts can be a little bit like going for a music ride. Only not on a straight and predictable highway, but more like a country road with lots of twists and turns in the road and plenty of surprises, too. However, I found the band to be the most dynamic and engaging of the the times I’ve seen them play.
By Lila Dutot
Photos by Tiina Liimu