Monday 23 April 2012

The Dandy Warhols at the HMV Forum

So, last Saturday my mate Glenn and I ventured down to that there London on the train to see the ever-cool Dandy Warhols rock Kentish Town's HMV Forum.

Amazingly, it's been over 3 years since I last saw the Dandy's, at a low-key, truncated gig at Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall. So it was definitely well past time for some more Tales from Urban Bohemia.
The Forum ( formerly the Town & Country Club ) is an impressive venue: a 1930's art deco cinema, converted into a 2000+ capacity concert hall, with a pretty decent sound and light system. The surrounding area of Kentish Town wasn't too pretty, so we didn't linger long outside.

The support band were AK/DK ( no, not UK Decay, for any old Goths reading this ) - an arty duo who generated a hypnotic, free-form noise from two drum-kits, old synths and samples - and who reminded me somewhat of the first ( and only ) time I saw The Flaming Lips. But without the nun hand-puppets. An unusual band whose compelling sound made a change from the usual indie fare and who, bizarrely, covered Bow Wow Wow's venerable C30 C60 C90 Go...

The last time I reviewed the Dandy's I said they have "a big, warm, sexy sound and a too cool for school image, a bit arty at times but no worse for that." And that still stands. But they also rock as much as any sweaty, pogoing Punk band... but in a cool kind of way. Songs like Horse Pills and new single Sad Vacation are Rock monsters from Planet Groove, and the intros to Bohemian Like You and Get Off caused mass outbreaks of moshing down the front. The pace slowed down as Courtney Taylor-Taylor ( looking like a less craggy Neil Young with his long hair ) strummed a solo Every Day Should Be A Holiday and rattled off a hilarious, unintelligible Texan monologue to introduce The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers. According to keyboard player Zia, Courtney had been suffering from a sore throat but it didn't seem to affect his vocals or put a dent in his superhuman charisma. The band appeared genuinely touched by the rabid reaction of the fans, even coming back for an encore, unlike the last time I saw them. They thanked us for giving the new songs as much attention as the old classics, Zia did her acapella spot, and then they were gone. A great gig in a decent venue - well worth travelling down for - and the night wasn't over quite yet...

Above: Glenn looking like the ( cool ) cat who got the cream, after enjoying another excellent gig by his favourite band.
We'd been handed a flyer on the way in, advertising a Dandy Warhol's DJ set at Camden's world famous Barfly, so what else could we do but hop on the Tube and head for Camden Town?

Upstairs in the Barfly ( £5 admission ) we found this bunch: a very retro-styled band called Maker, playing the Casino Royale club night.

Maker are a very tight, enthusiastic band with some great tunes, a Faces/Stones/Primal Scream sound and a fine Robert Plant-like vocalist in Alessandro Marinelli. It's all very retro and unlikely to cross over to a mass audience, but Glenn and I were definitely impressed with Maker's good time Rock 'n' Roll. Worth checking out for the haircuts alone!

After Maker had finished tearing the roof off the place, the Dandy's evening continued as Zia took to the decks for the DJ set.

Zia was awesome! Dancing, singing, chatting with the punters and generally having a great time, she was a delight to watch and listen to. She played a cracking selection of indie classics from Primal Scream, Pulp, Talking Heads, Echo & The Bunnymen and, as they say, many more. "When I play this stuff in the States, no-one knows the words" she laughed as she spun Pulp's Sorted For E's And Whizz. ( Which we weren't, sadly. )

After an hour or so of indie choons, Zia headed downstairs to play old school Soul and R 'n' B, with some classics from Stevie Wonder and The Temptations amongst the more obscure oldies. Sometime after 3:00am we headed for home, leaving Zia still dancing around the Barfly, having first got our gig tickets signed by the lovely lady herself. I think we both fell for her that night... just a little...

The evening ended with a walk through Camden, past more messed-up revellers than I've seen in my life, with a quick detour to Subway for sustenance and a photo-shoot with the regal lady below:

Bed at 4:00am - up for breakfast at 8:00am - and back to Camden for shopping and sightseeing - Phew!

More London wafflings to follow :-)

Soundtrack: Run And Hide ep by Maker

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