Review: The Dandy Warhols at the Gothic Theatre, with 1776 and Wymond Miles, 6/12/12
Tom Murphy 1776 at The Gothic Theatre
Earlier in the evening, the band 1776 from Washington opened the show with a set of songs reminiscent of T. Rex but with a psychedelic sheen. The bass player sounded like he was playing with flat wound strings; the tone was so smooth that, when he did slides, there wasn't the same sound texture as round wounds. This gave the low end a fluidity and smoothness of tone that boosted the overall sound of the band.
The singer's vocals, meanwhile, were pleasantly scratchy like an young Paul Westerberg, and the dynamics of the band, while tight, also allowed for some controlled chaos. Even when the band seemed to be mining old power pop territory for inspiration, it also tapped into the gritty sounds the Northwest has been known for since the '60s.
Tom Murphy Wymond Miles and band at The Gothic Theatre
After 1776, Wymond Miles took the stage with his three bandmates including James Yardley on bass and backing vocals, Andrew Warner on drums and Ela J on guitar, keys and backing vocals. Beginning with "Strange Desire," the first track from his new record, Under the Pale Moon, Miles created the kind of musical climate where past and present intermingle. Sounding at times like a complete synthesis of a '60s wall-of-sound aesthetic, late '70s post-punk in the rhythms, with shades of David Bowie. The quartet created a sweeping, emotionally stirring soundscape cut into roughly four minute segments. For a band that had only been together for four days, this was an absolutely strong performance.
Andrew Warner has long been one of the best, most underrated drummers with an obviously keen ear for dynamics and texture. James Yardley, too, has established himself well as a bass player both alongside Warner in Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Miles in Pinkku. His feel for when to make the tone angular and when to smooth it out and how to hit it with the right force in every moment was impressive. Ela J was the perfect complement and counterpoint to Miles's ghostly/fiery guitar work, and her emotionally vibrant singing added warmth to Miles's otherworldly yet soulful and often urgent singing. For pretty much a first real show, this one set a high watermark for what the band can do from here.
Personal Bias: I've been a fan of The Dandys since first seeing the band open for Curve at the Ogden in early summer, 1998. The Dandys left a strong impression then and have only got better.
Random Detail: Met a guy who came here from South Dakota to see the Dandys and was going to Aspen the next day to see the band at Bottom Up. He'd never been to the Gothic before and has just been choosing to go see the Dandys when a tour happens and follow it for a couple of dates.
By the Way: Ran into photographer Mike McGrath.
The Dandy Warhols
06/12/12 - Gothic Theatre
01. Peter International Airport
02. Boys Better
03. Horse Pills
04. Cool as Kim Deal
05. Holding Me Up
06. Good Morning
07. The Autumn Carnival
[on a photo of the set list, All The Money or the Simple Life Honey was here]
08. Used To be Friends
10. Every Day Should Be a Holiday
12. Sad Vacation
13. I Love You
15. Well They're Gone
17. Bohemian Like You
18. Get Off
20. Country Leaver
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