The Dandy Warhols
November 3, 2010
I found the remnants of Gen X last Wednesday. They were stoned at the Dandy Warhols concert at the Royale on Tremont St. This must have been their last bastion of sanctify from the crippling recession, overdue payments on the BMW, and the fact that mom and dad borrowed away their future for that house on Nantucket.
But you know what? We live in crappy times, and nothing says escapism like lighting up a joint and watching your favorite 90s stoner band playing a smattering of old hits.
“I love it when the whole place reeks of reefer,” lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor proclaimed to the crowd. Or something to that effect. I couldn’t remember the exact words, but neither could he. Hint: he was hiiiiiiiighhhh. Double hint: they were all highhhhhhh.
He went on to brag about getting legally high in Canada, getting illegally high before the show, and probably got high during a brief interlude to celebrate guitarist Peter Holmstro(double dots above the o)m’s birthday.
As for the music, there are two Dandy Warhols: 1) the innovative and catchy west coast band with 70s roots, and 2) the droll and uninspiringly generic stoner soundtrack. Guess which one showed up?
The performance was monotone, blurred, self gratifying, and generic. Exactly what you’d expect from a standard mid 90s band hotboxed in the garage. Not what you’d expect from the influential Portland band with 17 years under its belt. The setlist, concentrated with selected hits from their 1997-2004 hay day, fell flat. I don’t know how, but they made some of my favorite songs seem outdated and bland. I went back and listened to the original album versions. Although some songs show their age, they are for the most part enjoyable. Live? They clanged. “Everyday is a holiday” and “We used to be friends” sounded absolutely depressing. Taylor-Taylor and his cohorts resorted to annoying flanger effects, singing through a megaphone distorter (the precursor of autotune), and all of the bad tropes of 90s rock. It was worse than bad Collective Soul.
But if this is escapism, maybe this is what the crowd wanted? Vaguely familiar tuneskies from college days, a joint and a beer. Nothing challenging, nothing unfamiliar. Nothing to portend the dreaded 2000s. If you get high enough — and at a show like this you might — then I’ve got some dot com stocks to sell you.