THE DANDY WARHOLS, at the Horseshoe, July 24. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 400 (sold out). Rating: NNN
Portland, Oregon's, much-hyped Dandy Warhols are determined to recreate in North America the giddy, aren't-they-brilliant success they've achieved in England. Fair enough. But as far as their live performances go, that's both good and bad news.
The anticipation was palpable at the combo's jam-packed Horseshoe gig Monday in support of their new Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia disc. Fans, the curious and a barrelful of record label folks strained for a glimpse of cocky leader Courtney Taylor and the rest, who were splattered by retina-frying strobe flashes for most of the night. Slouching through their catalogue, though, you had to wonder why self-editing didn't enter the picture. Surely there's no more tried-and-true rule than leaving your audience wanting more.
Instead, the Warhols gave it to us wholesale, punctuating the set with a fey Taylor solo session -- an excuse to talk to his adoring public and show his more sensitive side while his shirt was doffed, evidently. At about an hour into the gig, it felt like time to call it a day. But Taylor was just warming up.
Apart from its protracted length, the performance also seemed stilted, perhaps owing to the fact that the new album's material is so new that it's virtually unknown.
Getting worked up about baggy psychedelic skronk is a distinct possibility when the group is, say, Radiohead, who likewise performed a local show prior to a new album's arrival. But when you're the Dandy Warhols -- even the "fookin' Dandy Warhols, mate" -- it's asking a lot.
Nevertheless, those who snapped up tickets weeks before the concert undoubtedly left with a sense of being at the ground level of something truly special. Perhaps the Warhols will prove them right.