The Dandy Warhols: Heaven, London – live review

American alt rock band The Dandy Warhols return to London & properly impress our man Simon Barton despite (or maybe because of) the absence of their trademark jams.

The Dandy Warhols
Heaven, London
22nd Nov 2012

A second visit to London in one year from Portland, Oregon’s premier psych-rock / dream pop outfit is a rare treat, so a packed-out Heavon is buzzing with anticipation. First up are The Blue Angel Lounge, frighteningly young and intense indie gloom-rockers from Germany. They wear their influences on their sleeves – most notably The Horrors‘ crashing waves of sound – with hints of The Velvet Underground, The Cure, Killing Joke and even early Pink Floyd breaking through the clouds of dry ice and reverb. An initially wary crowd is converted by the end of their impressive set, In Distance’s refrain of “I dream about you all the time…” echoing in our heads.

Appropriately enough for the Biblically-named venue, The Dandy Warhols kick off their crowd-pleasing set with the familiar washes of synth and George Harrison-esque chords of Godless. And from those first few notes the audience are entranced. The Dandys are notorious for embarking on extended, self-indulgent jams when playing live ( although the days of them sitting on the stage and spliffing-up are long gone ) but tonight they mostly give us the more tuneful, singalong side of their repertoire – and we couldn’t be happier.

Turning Heaven into one bouncing, bellowing mass The Dandys drop classic pop song after classic pop song – Bohemian Like You, Boys Better, Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth, Get Off – before getting heavier with an insane version of Horse Pills. Songs from the frankly disappointing new album, This Machine, don’t fare so well, but at least keyboard player Zia gets a chance to strap on a bass and rock out to recent single Sad Vacation. Other highlights include Courtney Taylor – Taylor’s one-man-and-a-guitar take on Every Day Should Be A Holiday, an audience member getting on stage to propose to his girlfriend ( she said yes, luckily ) and ex-members of The Specials and Adam & The Ants bringing extra dimensions to The Dandys’ sound with trumpet and flute respectively.

For all their cooler-than-thou hipster attitude, when on form The Dandy Warhols are one of the best live bands around and tonight they proved it, sending the Heaven audience out into the rainy London streets with a collective smile on its face.

The Blue Angel Lounge’s website is here.

The Dandy Warhols website can be found here. They are also on Facebook here.

All words and Photo’s by Simon Barton. More articles by Simon on Louder Than War can found here.

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