The Dandy Warhols at Brixton Academy
On Friday, old and young sang, danced and drank in disjointed unison to songs classic and new as The Dandy Warhols capped off their 25th-anniversary European tour in a Brixton Academy that, like the two-pint sized beer cups carried around by an intoxicated audience, was filled nearly to the brim.
The indie quartet from Portland, Oregon, entered the stage without many theatrics, walking silently towards their instruments in the dark, before Peter Holmstrom’s distinctive acrobatics on guitar heralded the group’s opening act, Forever, off 2019’s Why You So Crazy. Soon the lights came alive and frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor eased into his leading role, with the sure-footed supporting cast complementing his raw vocals. Band and audience took a while to shake off the icy cold, but by the time Crack Cocaine Rager and Get Off’s raucous riffs and shattering drums rolled around, the Academy had erupted.
Quickly as the grand hall had begun to pulsate, so too its heartbeat swiftly dropped when Taylor-Taylor beckoned long-time friend and collaborator Bebe Buell on stage for a moving rendition of The Velvet Underground’s iconic Femme Fatale, in a tribute to the pioneering group that formed the band’s earliest influence.
The concert’s second half saw the pace pick up, a crescendo of cheers inaugurated by the eminently melodic Godless, off their seminal 2000 album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, reaching a tipping point during crowd-favourites Bohemian Like You and Every Day Should Be a Holiday, as fans swooned over the band’s performance and scrambled to catch the balloons dropped from high above the stage. After closing with the experimental masterclass Boys Better, off their groundbreaking late-nineties record …The Dandy Warhols Come Down, Taylor-Taylor, standing centre-stage and overlooking the human debris he was to leave behind, raised his guitar to the sky defiantly – 25 years is a remarkably long run for a band whose sophomore album was once cancelled by their record label because it contained no “songs”.
Keyboardist Zia McCabe was the last to leave, thanking the crowd once more for a spectacular night. But as the Academy’s harsh bright lights came on, large swaths of the audience refused to head for the door, choosing instead to remain close to the stage, holding on to their balloons and fresh memories of a night they were not likely to forget anytime soon.
Photo: Natalia Friedman
For further information and future events visit The Dandy Warhols’ website here.
Watch the video for Godless here: