Noted psychologist and fake prison warden Philip Zimbardo recently wrote an ebook and did a TED talk on the subject of “The Demise Of Guys” – basically a rumination on the notion that increasing use of video games and access to online porn has created a sort of “arousal addiction” amongst young men wherein the addiction relies on ever escalating levels of newness. Things need to be bigger, more impressive, more extreme. Why am I bringing up this study in the context of a show review? Because in some ways I think this sort of applies to my situation. I go to a lot of shows. I mean a lot. And in our download-happy culture, I know that the way I listen to music has certainly changed as I get more and more mp3s filling up my hard drive. Consider it a bit of musical ADD. And so it was that a spot-on, fairly impressive performance by The Dandy Warhols just didn’t excite me like perhaps it should have – perhaps I just need the shock of the new. It could be I’ve just seen too many shows lately to get excited over something unless it’s something unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Then again, maybe I just wasn’t the right guy to review this show. I wouldn’t exactly call myself the biggest Dandies aficionado in the world – I’ve always liked their stuff but mostly paid attention to their radio hits and they haven’t really been on my radar since 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House. Truth be told, I was actually more excited about checking out openers Psychic Ills, whose set I largely missed out on. What I heard of their droney, doomy psych sounded good, but I was bummed that I only heard a couple songs. Plus, it was a Sunday night and I was kind of tired. Lame, I know, but that’s the truth of it. That said, the band played well, the sound mix was great, and many in the crowd were certainly way into it, dancing or shouting stuff out (one guy from far back enough that there’s no way he’d be heard) so it was definitely a crowd pleaser for many a diehard fan in the crowd. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose. At the recent Spiritualized show, I overheard people saying they were a little disappointed with the band’s performance, whereas I was quite taken with that show. I guess I’m just a bigger Spiritualized fan.
Despite their inability to dazzle me right off the bat, as I said, the band did put on an impressive enough performance. Late in their set, frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor took a solo turn on stage and incited a crowd singalong for “Every Day Should Be A Holiday,” mentioning an attempt to do the same at their Sonic Boom instore earlier in the day that didn’t go as well. Shout outs to local landmarks are always a crowd pleaser, even if the crowd didn’t seem to react that strongly. The set did seem to get bogged down a bit at times as they delved into slower, more psych influenced material, but other than that, I can’t really begrudge them. As the band opened their encore (well, sort of an encore – Taylor never left the stage) with a trio of familiar oldies (Bohemian Like You, Get Off, and Godless) I got a bit more into it as did those who were already into it. In the end, then, the band won me over to an extent, largely through playing the songs I did know. So maybe my hypothesis didn’t really work out. I guess I would make a terrible social scientist.