...live in Liverpool 2016
“I never thought you’d be a junkie/ because heroin is so passé.” Who would think to give the smack nation its own pink and yellow television-style game show, complete with burning luxe cars, dancing syringes, and a scary Vanna White-ish character lavishing over grave markers? The Dandy Warhols is who. They’re a quartet from Portland that piggybacked on the 15 minutes of fame afforded a ’60s pop artist known far and wide for finding shock value in the truly banal artifacts of urban living. In this case, “Andy” became “Dandy.” They started over 20 years ago as a bar band, finally settling on an early lineup that included Courtney Taylor-Taylor singing lead and playing guitar, drummer Eric Hedford, guitarist Peter Holmstrom, and Zia McCabe on keys and vox. They came to be known for rocking out on good-time drinking music and McCabe’s random toplessness on stage.
- Thursday, December 15, 2016, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
Dandy Warhols’ originals are hazy indie rockers with juicy power chords in all the right places: here’s to catchy songwriting with surprise lyrics. But I think the band’s occasional cover songs as recorded over the years best display their latent craftsmanship. For example, consider “16 Tons,” originally a folk song about a coal miner that was made famous during the middle-1950s by a smiling baritone in a suit-and-tie named Tennessee Ernie Ford. The Dandy Warhols deconstructed that song with lo-fi guitars and a moaning baritone sax and instead produced a song that actually sounds like it feels: grinding and hopeless desperation. Nine albums later, the band is older but more or less unaffected (Brent DeBoer replaced Eric Hedford). Now touring in support of 2016’s Distortland, even the group message is still pretty much on point: “Cigarette smokie cokie guy/ Only bugs me/ I’ve got to admit/ I’m too old for this shit.” Never big-time famous, Dandy Warhols are probably surprised to have become a nine-to-five job.
Telegram also performs.