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December 7th, 2011 JAY HORTON | Music Stories
 

The Dandy Warhols: Dec. 9-11

The Dandy Warhols are for the children.

music.box.dandywarhols_3805THE DANDY WARHOLS - IMAGE: Scott Spychalski
[HOLIDAY PSYCH ROCK] In the 17 years since the Dandy Warhols first recorded their weirdly definitive rendition of “Little Drummer Boy,” the Portland icons—our most continuously successful act, even as their hits proved too catchily marketable and their public personae too cheekily debauched for Puddletown tastemakers’ easy embrace—somehow fell into the habit of ever-blossoming Christmastime concerts. Now a Dandys holiday show is every bit as beloved a yuletide tradition as the Cinnamon Bear and (more than one could have ever imagined a decade past), nearly as family friendly.

Following in the footsteps of 2009’s weekend-spanning Roman holiday spectacular (limoncello, gelato, well-tailored menswear), the band has touted its upcoming Friday and Saturday shows at the Star Theater by obliquely referencing Bavaria, but most of the attention has been focused on Sunday’s G-rated matinee at Doug Fir. “The Dandies are all family people now, it’s true,” says keyboardist Zia McCabe, herself the mother of a 7-year-old girl. “I mean, for us, before, we were thinking that all ages meant the 16-year-olds to the 20-and-a-half-year-olds, and now we’re including the 3-year-olds. Grownups tend to just stand and watch, so, hopefully, for the kids’ show, we’ll be a little more animated.”

Seems odd to think about the Dandys playing before a shuttered bar, but, since their 30-and-over performance at legendary rock club Satyricon last fall, the Multnomah County natives have played a few high-profile sorta-venues technically absent liquor licenses—including a festival gig at Enchanted Forest. “We definitely kinda just take the fun shows, you know, all of the oddball stuff,” says frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. “Though just packing out the Crystal [Ballroom] last Christmas, that’s pretty much the single greatest musical experience I’ve ever had in my life. Sometimes you get the mix right, everyone’s in the right headspace, every piece of music comes at the right time, falls into place naturally, creates its own energy, and it’s just perfectness for two hours. We’ve been playing together for so long—we turn 18 in January...it’s different every time.”

For a band nudging the age of consent (and one rarely picked to mature gracefully, much less serve as elder statesmen), the members are remarkably active. McCabe’s country project Brush Prairie recently released a debut EP, guitarist Peter Holmstrom leads local combo Pete International Airport, drummer Brent DeBoer braves the commute to front Australian roots troupe Immigrant Union, and after co-writing the well-received graphic novel One Model Nation, Taylor-Taylor’s busy with the animatic potential. In the meantime, the Dandys also managed to nearly finish recording ninth album This Machine, which should be released in February...somewhere other than the band’s own Beat the World label.

“You know, we’re really good at helping out our friends,” says Taylor-Taylor. “But as far as being a label-label, I guess we’re just not those kind of people.”

They’ll tour after the new album’s 2012 release, of course, perhaps summering around the French countryside. The following year’s calendar, though, remains intriguingly open. Is there anywhere locally the Dandy Warhols haven’t played? “You know, we’ve never done a show on the Sternwheeler,” says McCabe. “Would a whole band fit in the pod that goes up to OHSU?”


SEE IT: The Dandy Warhols play the Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10. 9 pm. $15 advance, $20 day of show. 21+. They play Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., on Sunday, Dec. 11. 5 pm. $15. All ages.

 
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