The Dandy Warhols – 23/05/03 – Brixton Academy

Ever since I had heard ‘Every Day Should Be A Holiday’ about six years before, I had harboured a burning desire to see the Dandys live. They seemed to get better with each album, and finally they were going to play London (at least, play London when I was aware of them playing London anyway), touring in support of ‘Welcome To The Monkey House’. This was a much more synth-heavy album than the previous ones (thanks to the foppish Nick Rhodes’ knob-twiddling) and although I was slightly alarmed at Courtenay Taylor-Taylor’s squeaky voice on Jonathan Ross the week before, I was rather looking forward to the gig.

Dandy Warhols ticket May 2003

They don’t have a support act, as we found to our cost when we entered the Academy only shortly after 8pm – they had already started! I fucking hates missing the start, I does. Not sure what we missed, but they were rocking the place already. In the almost 3hrs that they were on stage, they played a good mixture of the short poppy songs and the long drawn out psychedelic ramblings, alternating between fast and slow, dancey and chilled out. Courtney’s voice was fine – he’s no Kiri Te Kanawa, but he managed the high notes on ‘We Used To Be Friends’ pretty well, and anyway, most of the songs are in a lower, more comfortable register.

I had very quickly tired of the originally-sublime-but-played-to-death ‘Bohemian Like You’, thanks mainly to the Vodafone ad, but I have to say it was the best song of the night – the Academy crowd went proper mental. Most of the ‘single’ material was great, but the self-indulgent rambling trippy stuff from the first couple of albums, like the aptly titled ‘Fast Driving Rave-Up with The Dandy Warhols Sixteen Minutes’ was a real bonus – coupled with the mesmeric strobes and dry ice, it could almost have been Hawkwind 10 years before. The one disappointment was that they only played an acapella version of ‘Every Day…’ After the last encore, Zia came on stage, genuinely apologetic that Courtenay’s voice was too shot to do any more, and serenaded us with a cute little song about a happy flower in a flowerpot. Or something equally Haight-Ashbury. Phenomenally good gig.

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