The Portland Oregon alternative rock band the Dandy Warhols rocked it with a bit more hair than when 13 Tales of Urban Bohemia first came out thirteen years ago. The tour is for the re-release of the newly remastered 13 Tales album with new material.
Courtney Taylor-Taylor, his long hair tied up in a knot, stood behind two microphones, right leg crossed over left to reach his guitar peddles in off black jeggins and Beatle boots. His brass belt buckle to the side so as not to scratch the finish of his guitar – so rock star it hurts – and he is so easy in that persona. There were some shout out’s to Zia McCabe as she walked on stage since it was her birthday, and two additional back up players were there to help round out the sound so that the Dandy’s would sound as close to the record as possible, according to Taylor-Taylor.
The first set followed 13 Tales in it’s entirety. The horn player in the back let Zia McCabe do other things on her synthesizer and shake the shit out of a pair of maracas while singing back up with the slow building philosophical “Godless,” “Muhammed,” and “Nietzsche,” none of which have lost their power. Taylor-Taylor’s deep growl surfaces in pouty sex idol lips with a sneer Elvis would be proud of, but it isn’t hostile nor studied boredom – it’s the affect of a Zen master of psychedelic rock. The slow build of the first set broke into a frenzy with the power pop hit “Bohemian Like You” and thus started the audience participation. Peter Holmström may look like someone you wouldn’t bring home to meet the folks, but he tore it up on a variety of guitars including but not limited to a cool black Rickenbacker, a hollow-body Telecaster, that had surf sound galore, and a Fender Stratocaster.
The stage craft, lighting and projections were stunning, and added to the mood, whipping the crowd into a frenzy or slowing it down into a slow pulsing swaying groove. As the evening progressed, Taylor-Taylor did a solo version of “Every Day Should Be A Holiday” with just a hollow-body guitar and one of his two mics pointed at the audience while the rest of the band took a break. He made a Jedi joke and complained that since he wasn’t drinking or smoking these days, he had to do this bit. He stepped back from the microphone and sang while playing guitar and he is such a strong singer, you could hear him. It also speaks to the great acoustics of the Wilbur Theatre.
When the band rejoined Tayor-Taylor on stage, he led the audience in a round of “Happy Birthday” for Zia McCabe. He flubbed the name humorously, like one does when it’s not someone you know as the audience sang in full voice. She raised her Corona bottle in thanks and drank to the crowd’s rejoicing. The second set began with just the four primary Dandy’s doing dance material like the growly “Good Morning” and notable anthem singalongs “We Used To Be Friends,” and “Horse Pills.”
When the bass drum got out of alignment, there was a meaningful glance between Brent DeBoer a.k.a.“Fathead” and Taylor-Taylor. Taylor-Taylor showed no compunction about yelling for “Joe to tape the bass drum” in the middle of the song, making it feel like a smaller more intimate setting. Fathead was in amazing voice and it was a thrill to hear his high notes coming through in person. Eventually, Taylor-Taylor joked about the indentured servitude of the backup players, as they came out to finish the set and their continuing tour of America and “Canadia” as he talked about the significance of 13 tales being re-released on13-13-13 and its mind blowing synchronicity. The encore had Holmström using a bow for etherial sounds on electric guitar cascading into Pete Townsend windmills as Taylor-Taylor did split jumps during the rocking guitar and heavy synth of “Boys Better” ending finally with McCabe’s solo of “Daisy On My Toe.” It was a spectacular show.
13 Tales of Urban Bohemia remastered with bonus material will release on June 11, 2013 on Capitol Records.