The Dandy Warhols, who shot to fame after their song Bohemian Like You went worldwide in a Vodafone campaign, surprised Amsterdam with a last-minute concert this weekend. Taking the smaller of two stages in the low-key and popular venue Melkweg, this had all the ingredients of a spectacular gig and they did not disappoint.
Any fan of The Dandy Warhols will know more about the band than simply which network provider they endorse and will hopefully have seen the documentary Dig! which was well worth a watch to set up the mood before going to The Dandy’s concert on Saturday.
It is a rockumentary, if you will, that follows the careers of The Dandy’s and The Brian Jonestown Massacre over 7 years and the rivalry that ensues between their respective founders. It is a rivalry – yet perhaps not careers – worth comparing to that between Oasis and Blur in the 90s.
It raises the ultimate question for so many striving bands and musicians – what is more important? To top the charts or to have the freedom to produce the sound you want? To be known among the masses for a song once used as a backdrop for a new mobile phone contract or to create a following loyal to all your quirks and on-stage tantrums?
Dig! shows two very different career paths and the true rock n roller in all of us can appreciate the fight and struggle – more often than not, a literal fight and struggle between band members during actual concerts – that The Brian Jonestown Massacre founder, Anton Newcomb, suffered in order to create a music revolution.
It conveys both incredible musical talent and a self-indulgent or rather self-deluded belief in a music revolution without the need of the support of a record label. One band is seen to “sell-out” while the other continues in its quest of said revolution. Many will never have heard of The Brian Jonestown Massacre so it is fairly easy to assume which band did what.
However, it must be said that while TBJM is not widely known, they have influenced many a band and any music lover worth his or her salt should and will know of them.
This weekend though, it was all about The Dandy’s and it came as a pleasant surprise that a band used for such a slick ad campaign could still be so rock n roll on stage, creating a performance that made you long for the Viper room on Sunset Blvd or Laurel Canyon in the 60s.
Unfortunately, this was a last minute concert in the Melkweg, just off Leidse square in the centre of Amsterdam on a busy Saturday night. It would seem that even the Saturday night crowd who bothered to spend money on a ticket to see The Dandy Warhols’ in concert, weren’t quite sure who even this band was, nevermind The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Many seemed to have missed or simply forgotten the Vodafone commercial from all those years ago. Perhaps they prefer T-mobile.