The Dandy Warhols: Twenty Years of Urban Bohemia
Ray Gordon The Dandy Warhols are scheduled to perform on Monday, April 28, at Crescent Ballroom.
Dandys rule, okay? They have never not ruled, they still rule, and I suspect they always will. Turning 20 years old, Portland's premier rock band, the Dandy Warhols, can claim one of its generation's most eccentric careers, making the quartet one of the last great rock 'n' roll acts in existence.
You can label the Warhols "neo-psychedelia," just a rehash of that iconic 1960s clatter, but the truth is that vibe never died. In the first place, nobody "discovered" whatever sound or genre was mainstream 55 years ago — it was always there in some form, just waiting to be seized. And it never went away, even if it may have lost some widespread appeal over the years.
Noted for their tongue-in-cheek egotism and unhinged party vibes, the Dandys channel that familiar "retro" wave with modern definition, a unique fervor that bounces across ear-pleasing, soul-soothing landscapes the group's adopted with complete, magnificent poise. In other words, the band is an octahedral peg that doesn't fit into any square holes.
The Warhols -- fronted by singer/guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor, guitarist Peter Peter Holmström, keyboardist Zia McCabe, and Taylor-Taylor's cousin Brent DeBoer, who replaced drummer Eric Hedford in 1998 -- are best known for their hit "Bohemian Like You" from Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia.
After spending the better part of their career on Capitol Records, producing joint-ripping sensations such as "Smoke It" and drizzly comedowns like "Sleep" and "You Were the Last High," the Dandys broke away from Capitol in 2008, starting their own label, Beat the World Records.
Finally independent, the band released Earth to the Dandy Warhols, featuring some of their best tracks to date, including the syncopated jam "Welcome to the Third World" and the dizzying drone machine "Wasp in the Lotus." Fulfilling a promise on the opening track of Welcome to the Monkey House (lyrics: "When Michael Jackson dies / We're covering 'Blackbird'"), McCabe sang on a cover tribute to the late King of Pop. Twenty-twelve saw This Machine, a reference to the "This machine kills fascists" sticker on Woody Guthrie's guitar. With tracks like "Autumn Carnival" and "I Am Free," it presented a more somber reflection on the band's long, varied career.