The Dandy Warhols (photo: Patric Carver)
The Dandy Warhols gathered the masses at The Fillmore Saturday, December 17, 2016 for the last show of their US tour before heading overseas to Europe.
Openers The Warbly Jets were a confusing group to watch. It seemed like there was some substance beneath their look, but ultimately their set just never got off the ground. They had the look — all clad in motorcycle jackets and bored affectation, but their sound was nothing special. The play, spray, and use a lot of delay method has run its course, and The Warbly Jets are now trying to tap into a vein that has long since turned hard from years of constant needle pricks from VH1-inspired garage bands. There was nothing wrong or unpleasant about their music, but there wasn’t anything memorable, either.
Telegram, the second opening band, was another story. Taking a page from the good old fashioned head-banging guitar sounds of the early ’90s and mixing it with in-your-face, marching-band reminiscent punch, Telegram had a unique tale to tell. No one ever comments on the drummer when a reviewing a rock band because usually there’s nothing to say. However, Telegram’s Jordan Cook plays with an orchestral nature. Edging outside of the standard 1-and-2-and-3-and-4, Cook is not just helping to navigate the band. Interjecting standard rudiments from concert drumming into purposeful places with in larger context, Cook highly influences the totality of the sound. In a move foreign to most drummers, Cook puts his energy into composition and not merely volume.
Don’t worry, though, there was plenty of volume in their set. Vocal harmonies were strong but cooperative, a nice change from the shout-talk rock many bands without strong voices try to hide behind. There was nothing artificial about this band.
The Dandy Warhols provided a set that was a metaphorical musical buffet. Starting off with a nearly experimental solid sound, The Warhols blanketed the crowd with “Be-In.” Lyrics faded in and out in phases as if being subjugated by the murky low end. It seemed more like the memory of a song than a song itself — a sonic arrest in a dream state. That feeling of discomfort you get from a bath that’s slightly too warm, the unsettling nature of an unopened letter — The Warhols recreated that in splendid fashion with their cerebrally psychedelic sound. Sorry, Haight-Ashbury, you can keep your Jerry-Garcia-Wavy-Gravy sound. I like my hallucinatory moments to be less folk and more soaked with low-end like the full sound The Warhols produced.
After whetting the appetite of the audience, The Warhols continued with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of sound. At times, they were more like 1970s Rush with powerful dirt-rock guitars. In other moments, they were taking us on an astral fantasy with synthy interjections. The highlight of the evening came when they rallied everyone around the motoring “Bohemian Like You.” With its campy chorus of “woo, hoo, hoo,” and traveling rhythm guitar, Bohemian is a song nourishes the inner teenager in all of us by feeding us the pop that we loved as kids.
They ended the night joined by Telegram for a stretched and strengthened version of “Rave Up” and a jolly, jolting version of the Christmas classic, “Little Drummer Boy.” A treat awaits for Europe as The Warhols continue their tour.