The Dandy Warhols live at the Ambassador, Dublin

The Dandies seem to feel both affection and disdain for their audience, a rag-bag of every-blokes and office girls.

The Dandy Warhols care, desperately, what you think about them. This is both their greatest strength and deepest flaw.

For all the druggy insouciance of their music, The Dandies have never quite managed to quell the need for adoration. They want people – millions of them –  to buy their records, yet are painfully wary of being labeled ‘sell outs’.

There is something rather old-fashioned about the tension between the Portland, Oregon group’s frantic hunger for success and the guilt they feel at the hoops through which they must jump to achieve it.

You can bet they did back-flips to sell their biggest hit ‘Bohemian Like You’ to Vodafone and then stayed up all night, tormented with remorse.

This conflict went to the heart of Ondi Timoner’s Dig!, the hit ‘rockumentary’ which juxtaposed the Dandies’ slow-dance with the big time and the car-crash punk ethos of their musical friends and neighbours, The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

The Dandy Warhols are no less ambivalent in concert. Sure, they deliver the hits but with a curled lip and a mocking glare. The Dandies seem to feel both affection and disdain for their audience, a rag-bag of every-blokes and office girls.

Courtney Taylor, the band’s singer and leader, looks particularly torn. Taylor hides behind a low-slung hat and ragged fringe and delivers his lyrics in a cracked-croon, as though reading them from a splintered mirror.

Anthems dispensed, the group encore with a 15 minute drone instrumental, which evokes krautrock and psychedelia and sounds like the second half of David Bowie’s Low played at the wrong speed. Some in the crowd cheer defiantly. Most seem bemused and rather bored.

As the track judders towards a catharsis, Taylor is first to leave the stage, his hat cocked jauntily, something like a grin threatening on his lips.

 

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