The Dandy Warhols – The Powerstation: April 22, 2024 (Concert Review)

The Dandy Warhols… will forever be associated with recent visitor Brian Jonestown Massacre due to the opus documentary DIG!. Their style of eclectic alternative punk rock is still aweing and daunting audiences 30 years on, a history of hits and misses has dogged them, but with a late 90s/early 2000s cache of songs like: Bohemian Like You, Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth, Every Day Should Be a Holiday, We Used to Be Friends, and Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth, a The Dandy Warhols performance was a spectacle that Simon Coffey was not going to miss.

Sometimes being a The Dandy Warhols fan is as The Ohio Players sang, a  Love Rollercoaster affair. Having been long-forgiven their lackluster live performance at Big Day Out 2004 (rumour has it the local weed fucked them up and they thought they were at an impromptu poetry night), they were last here in 2017 at this very venue whence they performed a stonker of a show that wowed all.

In the meantime, after seven long years, two albums (of lost in the rye recordings), a non-inclusion of Aotearoa on their 2022 co-tour of Australia with The Hoodoo Gurus, they were back on an Australasian tour celebrating the release of their twelfth album ROCKMAKER, a return to form according to notable critics, and this opinionated hack. 

Magic Machine

Sydney based, an unknown quantity, even though they have been around since 2021, their bandcamp page describes them as ‘Garage Dream Boogie’.

Magic MachinePart of the Australian musical tradition of psych-rock music, obsessed with the 60s it seems, especially the organ sound so reminiscent of The Door and early Pink Floyd.

As Magic Machine furrow their way through their set, the organ stabs constantly, even surpassing the lead guitar machinations by the singer. The vocals are a little low in the mix, but I get the feeling the music being created is all about the ‘vibe’ and many in the audience tonight are keen to leap into the hippie-dippie VW Combo.
As Magic Machine wears their love of the Grateful Dead on their shirt (above the hearts) it’s like psychedelic organ never got superseded by musicians like Dave Greenfield in bands like The Stranglers. Yes, I can see how crafty they are at being musicians, the skills are undoubtedly there, but I couldn’t hear anything with edge, it was like being becalmed at sea in a leaky boat.

The Dandy Warhols

A rapturous welcome from the audience erupts as the four take their positions, all in a line across the stage, egalitarianism rules. Zia McCabe on keys and bvs (and later on bass) Brent DeBoer on drums and bvs, Courtney Taylor-Taylor vocals and guitar and Peter Holmström on guitars and bvs. Noticeable are the twin mics for Zia and Courtney.

The Dandy WarholsWith little banter, but a few waves and individual instrument checks, The Dandy Warhols launched into two classics from two different albums with two different vocal styles by Courtney, giving credence to the twin mic setup. Both Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth and Shakin’ get/got the audience… shaking, already the sound is emphatically balanced and clear. Already drummer Brent DeBoer’s wide-eyed grin is evident and infectious.

The banter is a little expanded, mainly at the hands of Zia and Courney as Ride releases a wall noise and lights into the room, taking us  back to the genesis of the band, from their debut ‘white’ album – Dandys Rule OK. I’d Like To Help You With Your Problem from their latest album ROCKMAKER quickly follows with Peter Holmström’s guitar skills emulating the original Slash riffs. And as the familiar keyboard tones of We Used to Be Friends begins as Problem fade, this triggers a resurrected crowd response, it is sounding raw and unrefined, it has the room sounding like a punk rock disco, Holmström is the maestro at firing up crowd participation (hand claps)

The Dandy Warhols are back in Australasia touring, celebrating the release of ROCKMAKER, the crowd already had a taste, but now the main course comes with Summer of Hate and Danzig With Myself. Summer of Hate is noticeable as an upbeat new wave Dandy’s composition, but I find myself wavering as Danzig With Myself drifts, the t-shirts at the merch desk are catchy, but the song is…

When Zia grabs her bass, and the intro to Plan A sounds, the energy returns, and the room is back up at another level in grooviness, 2018’s Be Alright has the same energy step up and punk-disco vibe as Shakin’ from earlier in the night. Courtney and Zia are oh so careful to build up the intro phrasing for I Love you, the audience is enraptured, well those up the front were, it’s a slow build up, reminiscent of Ride. Zia’s Keyboard playing is phenomenal and it turns into an extended jam only ended when Courtney introduces the last taste of ROCKMAKER in I Will Never Stop Loving You, a slow, dark and anxious very Leonard Cohen like vocals, gothic, but without the punk angst.

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols favourites come thick and fast as the witching hour looms, Godless lift the energy in the room back up after the extended melancholy, while audience expectations for (a reserved version of) Bohemian Like You, are finally sated, and the crowd can’t help but sing along. Like many other bands these days, increasingly so, The Dandy Warhols don’t feign for encores, and after the delusory Pete International Airport, they launch into a tumultuous ending in sound and light as Boys Better booms through the Powerstation.

Zia did an electro ending onstage alone… ending with ‘Thank you so much Auckland’

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

The Dandy Warhols:

Magic Machine:

Dandy Warhols Setlist:

Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth
I’d Like To Help You With Your Problem
We Used to Be Friends
Summer of Hate
Danzig With Myself
Plan A
Be Alright
I Love You
I Will Never Stop Loving You
Bohemian Like You
Pete International Airport
Boys Better
Zia Outroset