By Antonella Fratino - The Siamese Libertines - 12/02/2005

Certain moments push beyond being mere coincidences. How I found myself flipping through a Nan Goldin retrospective while listening to The Dandy Warhols’ latest album, Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, was one of those moments -- defying machination but respecting some sort of ontological unity. Somewhere between Goldin’s gritty portraits and the evocative “Holding Me Up,” it just clicked -- and I realized why I’m such a fan of the Warhols. Like the cited photographer, the group has been criticized for being contrived, glossy and unoriginal. However, unlike other musicians, the Portland quartet unabashedly alludes to its influences while toying with the boho art world it is part of. And, as both sets of artists prove, certain tropes never get old. In mining matters of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, Goldin and The Dandy Warhols capture an essence, a scene, a certain place and time. You want to be there. You want to join the party. Yeah.

I was there -- in that space of nostalgia and utter cool -- the night of their recent Montreal show at the Spectrum. My last live memory of the Warhols consists of a topless Zia McCabe bouncing about to “Song 2” when they toured with Blur back in 1997. This time around, it was about the boys showing skin as both frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor and drummer Brent deBoer graced an ecstatic crowd with their shirtless presence. Already commanding the stage visually, the Warhols rocked, and rocked loudly. Engaging the audience with favourites “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” (which was performed with surprising enthusiasm), “Bohemian Like You”, “Boys Better”, and “We Used To Be Friends”, the band also incorporated the longer, more atmospheric tracks from Odditorium without losing drive.

Working two mikes seamlessly, Taylor-Taylor embodied the playful sexual energy from songs like “I Love You” and “Minnesoter”, as did the rest of the band members. What became evident as the show progressed was just how much the band actually felt their songs -- and respected the art of music. The Warhols weren’t just performing for the crowd but creating music with us, and their sincere involvement made the night all that more enjoyable. So much so that almost two hours into their set, I didn’t realize it was already time to go. This is when Taylor-Taylor did something I’ve always wanted to see happen in a concert but have never witnessed before. After thanking us for being so great (which we were), he presented the last three songs the band was going to play and stated that there would be no encore, as he felt the whole process was ridiculous. Sure enough, after playing the last song -- a great cover of “Little Drummer Boy” claimed to be performed only between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- the group headed off the stage. Knowing when to leave a good party, The Dandy Warhols did just that.

[The Siamese Libertines rule, OK? Thursdays 4pm-6pm]