Dandy Warhols are a band that are hard to pin down. Underground heroes but stadium rockers. Resolutely musically ambitious but a pop band. This makes for a confusing live experience. After support band Dark Horses won over a sizeable crowd with their atmospheric psychedelic sound the Dandy’s strode on to the stage with little fanfare.
After opening with ethereal slow burner ‘Mohammed’ it wasn’t until ‘Get Off’ kicked in two tracks later that the Sheffield crowd responded. Frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor had the vocals mixed lower than usual and was singing into two microphones, each with a slightly different sound. This worked well for the slower numbers like ‘Mohammed’ and the superb performance of ‘I Love You’ but for the more upbeat songs like ‘Get Off’ and ‘Bohemian Like You’ Taylor-Taylor’s vocals were lost amidst the playing of the rest of the band. Having said that the rhythm section sounded great throughout with keyboardist Zia McCabe playing at least five instruments and looking cool as shit with each one and guitarist Peter Holmstrom appearing every inch a rock star.
One thing that the Dandy’s aren’t interested in is crowd interaction. For a band who showed in the superb documentary Dig! that they are articulate and opinionated it was disappointing that Taylor-Taylor barely mumbled a ‘thank you’ between songs and along with his band mates gave no indication whether they themselves were enjoying the gig.
Following a pounding performance of ‘We Used To Be Friends’ (lapped up by the South Yorkshire crowd) and a mass sing along for ‘Godless’ the stage was set for a show stopping finale. Excitement reached fever pitch following a rapturously received rendition of ‘Boys Better’… and then the curtain fell, the lights came on and despite pleas from the audience there was to be no encore. No ‘Everyday Should Be A Holiday’ or ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’.
Dandy Warhols at Sheffield Leadmill were frustrating, brilliant, abrasive and crucially never boring. There is something quite refreshing about a band that are comfortable doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Never change Dandy’s.