What is more entertaining than NASA spending billions of tax dollars on shuttles for space exploration? Having The Dandy Warhols launch their latest album, Earth to the Dandy Warhols, at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia, Oct. 11, of course!
Sporting a top-spot on The Dandy Warhols’ MySpace page, opening band The Upsidedown began lift-off with a strong dream-like instrumental. They held the attention of the crowd until vocals were introduced in the second song. Jsun Atoms’ vocals on the album Human Destination are much smoother and more bearable than when listening live. Atoms made up for that by craftily playing his guitar by spinning his arm like a windmill. Although The Upsidedown lost their flavor and connection with the crowd vocally, they held their own instrumentally.
The next band, Darker My Love, dished out an all-around aesthetic performance. Accompanying their hallucinatory sound was a lava projection that occupied the entire 12-by-12 foot backdrop.
Darker My Love’s rather big and intimidating bassist, Rob Barbato, had the most delicate and high-pitched voice, which took the audience by surprise. During most tracks he was harmonious with lead vocalist Tim Presley. Not only was the audience in a reverie by their psychedelic sound, but also visually dazed by the flowing projected images. It was a surreal experience for the clearheaded.
The Dandy Warhols were sent into orbit with an energetic two-hour set sans encore. As they entered the stage ready for take-off, four 12-foot tall LED-lighted columns illuminated the venue. The columns’ light patterns radiated a futuristic vibe, which presented a spaceship-like setting.
Seemingly shy in the beginning, they weren’t sure that they were getting a proper reaction from the crowd until they performed the crowd pleaser “We Used to Be Friends,” which got the audience riled up.
The audience’s ecstatic reaction set up a very comfortable and reoccurring interaction with vocalist Courtney Taylor-Taylor. From there, The Dandy Warhols played a variety of songs from their prior releases as well as promoting their latest album.
Taylor-Taylor presented “The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers AKA the Ballad of Sheriff Shorty” with a humorous anecdote from past touring. He explained how he was determined to write a song about a trucker because the band passed so many while traveling.
As The Dandy Warhols got deeper into the set, Taylor-Taylor would recite the guitar chords before every song, trying to remember how certain songs went. This act emphasized the comfort and the personal interaction between band and crowd, which went beyond the typical distance between a popular band and its fans.
Before closing out the night with “Country Leaver,” Taylor-Taylor took requests from the crowd. The Dandy Warhols wound up revisiting 1997 tracks “Orange” and “Minnesoter,” as well as dance-trigger “Solid,” to finalize their lengthy 23-track mission.
All in all, The Dandy Warhols posed a successful blast off, not only proving that they can rock their way through space, but through Philadelphia as well.