Live Review, 5/16/12: The Dandy Warhols Shut Up and Play the Hits at the Fillmore

The Dandy Warhols at the Fillmore last night.
The Dandy Warhols
Sleepy Sun
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Fillmore

Better than:
Smelling like teen spirit.

At last night's sold-out show at the Fillmore, the Dandy Warhols' frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor couldn't resist wearing his black Brian Jonestown Massacre parody T-shirt. The bands, forever tied by the 2004 documentary Dig!, played the Fillmore within a week of one another and we couldn't resist comparing the shows. (Read my review of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.)

After 18 years together and only one lineup change (drummer Brent DeBoer joining in 1998), Taylor-Taylor's claim of being "the most well-adjusted band in America" seems to hold true. Last night, the Dandys tightly gathered on stage in front a massive fabric backdrop with the band's name and under a strobe, making it feel like a 1990s prom. They delivered a two-hour set packed with fan favorites -- and seemed to have fun doing it, too.

Touring for its eighth album, This Machine, few in the predominantly over-30 crowd knew any songs outside the Dandys' best-loved and early albums ... The Dandy Warhols Come Down (1997) and Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia (2000). The band has maintained its late-'90s sound, a gift and a curse when compared to the ever-evolving Brian Jonestown Massacre, which is now on tour for its experimental and instrumental new album, Aufheben.

The first stop in a long, national tour, Taylor-Taylor's vocals already sounded tired and strained, but he made it work, channeling his inner Iggy Pop, snarling as he sang, and telling stories between songs or during keyboardist Zia McCabe's "potty breaks."

"You know we started playing S.F. in '94-95 at house parties in the Mission," Taylor-Taylor said. "We liked playing S.F. so much, it took us three years to get up to Seattle."


Along with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who formed in San Francisco in 1990, Portland's the Dandy Warhols helped revive the San Francisco music scene, adding to it elements of grunge, goth, and a 1960s London sound. It's heard in the Dandys' greatest hits, all performed last night, including "Bohemian Like You," "We Used to be Friends," "Godless," "Mohammed," "Horse Pills," and "Get Off."

No surprises in this set. As expected, the Dandys left the mischief to the Brian Jonestown Massacre and played it safe. 

Critic's Notebook

Overheard: "Am I at a Butthole Surfers' concert?"

Random detail: Popscene's Aaron Axelsen (@AaronAxelsen) revealed on Twitter that the Dandy Warhols at the Cat Club was the first band ever booked at this now-legendary weekly party.

See also:

*Brian Jonestown Massacre Returns to the Fillmore, Attitude and All

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Whitney Phaneuf @Whitney_writer, and like us at

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I saw them last night in Detroit (Royal Oak) and they rocked. Great sound, stage presence and they really were in a solid gear dynamically. HAD A BLAST!!!

Joe Howell
Joe Howell

Just read this review in advance of the Dandies' Toronto show tonight, to decide if it will be worth the $30. Gonna see it now! Thanks for the article.

Mr Rob
Mr Rob

Why do you keep referring to the new BJM record 'Aufheben' as an instrumental record? Did you even listen past the first song? ? The BJM perforemed 5 songs from this record at there show at the Fillmore last week, which you attended AND reviewed, and every single one of those songs had vocals on it. Does the fact that the only thing you seem to know about either of these bands comes from a now 8 year old documentary actually qualify you to review these shows? Lazy lazy journalism...

Whitney Phaneuf
Whitney Phaneuf

You're correct--there are lyrics on 'Aufheben,' but the album has an instrumental feel to it. Thank you for making the distinction. I've seen BJM perform one of the best live music sets I've ever experienced. Unfortunately, last Friday was not one of those nights.


Mr. Rob - you are totally right. It's as if Phaneuf watched "Dig" a while back, became "such a big fan," and thinks she's an expert when she's anything but. Really, really bad stories.


Wow! That was a pointless review. History we all know and two sentences about the performance itself. Does anyone edit this?

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