Show Review: The Dandy Warhols at Pop's, Friday, September 4

Sep 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm
The Dandy Warhols last night at Pop's on the East Side. See more photos from last night's show here. - Photo: Steve Truesdell
Photo: Steve Truesdell
The Dandy Warhols last night at Pop's on the East Side. See more photos from last night's show here.
The Dandy Warhols set last night at Pop's Nightclub in classy Sauget, Illinois, had to have been one of the quietest rock shows ever put on at the infamous 24/7 rock venue. The band kicked off its set with the lovely and delicate building intro of "Be-In" (from 1997's .... The Dandy Warhols Come Down), but the anticipation built by this slow-burning prelude was arguably wasted when the drums kicked in and the volume just kind of leveled off, instead of blasting off. This low-decibel-level issue got somewhat better as the night progressed -- and didn't reflect badly on the band itself, which played proficiently and blazed through a nearly two-hour set that left no need for an encore.

The current foursome -- which consists of original members Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Peter Holmstrom, Zia McCabe and drummer Brent De Boer -- lined up side by side across the front of the stage. Three metallic rectangles housing rows of tiny light bulbs were manipulated with swirling patterns of graphics and constant changes in color. This back-lit light kept the Dandys shrouded for most of the set, but lent a decidedly mysterious vibe to the evening (and the simple transitions in hue and pattern never really got old).

The band slowly won over the tepid audience by revisiting gems from its entire back catalog with a fervor and spirit. Holmstrom's guitar-work and effects manipulation was spot-on, and channeled very specific sounds from different eras of the band's discography with precision. McCabe's trademark cutesy bounce was in full-effect as she danced away inside her "cube-o-keyboards" and added to the groove with tasteful flourishes of tambourine and shaker. Taylor-Taylor's voice sounded somewhat stressed at points but overall he belted away and was aided by spot-on vocal harmonies from De Boer.  

A wash of rainbow colored lights added to the psychedelic sway of "The Last High," which was the last song before the band took a short intermission when McCabe apparently needed a potty break. Taylor-Taylor took advantage of this lull though by strumming through a slow and intimate solo version of "Everyday Should Be a Holiday."

From there the band rattled off the hit parade, ratcheting up the intensity with each song from "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" to "Bohemian Like You" to "We Used to Be Friends." There were plenty in the audience who definitely appreciated the attention the band paid to its most popular works -- but you could tell by the attentive spirit during the more extended jams and slower psychedelic inteludes that there were plenty of dedicated fans in the crowd as well.