all words: JD Klipper
all photos: Dakota Fine
I am supposed to meet Dakota (the photographer for the night) outside the front door of the 9:30 Club at 8:30 PM. I have never met him before, so I start looking around to see if I can guess who he is out of the group of people standing outside. I see a girl in the corner of my eye and hear “Wanna play?” She’s standing by three cars outside the club, with ROCK BAND on plasma TVs set up in the trunks. I think it must be part of the promotion for the tour. I say “sure”. Explaining that I am not that good, I ask if can we do an easy song. We settle on “Here We Go Again” by OK GO. It seemed like a pretty straightforward song, and one that I wouldn’t fuck up, seeing as I’m not that seasoned in ROCK BAND.
ROCK BAND Girl: You should put it on Easy…
Me: Yeah, thanks.
Surprisingly, it goes pretty well until I realize that Dakota is calling me and we should probably be inside. He and I meet up, go inside, and hash out a plan for the evening. The lights go down and I won’t see him again for the rest of the night.
Darker my Love takes the stage. These guys are a five piece out of LA with their album 2 out now on Dangerbird Records (Home to Silversun Pickups, Sea Wolf, The Dears). Projected behind them is what looks like the inside of a lava lamp moving around to the sound of “Claws and Paws”. At first I don’t know how I feel about the lava, but as I get more into the song, it makes more sense. Immediately after Claws ends, the guys fly into “Blue Day”, a new guitar-driven tune from their latest effort, and one of my favorites. With more intense songs came faster moving lava, which ends up adding a lot to the live show and fits the music very well.
One of the cool things about Darker My Love is that Tim Presley and Rob Barbato both sing lead (AND they both toured with The Fall). Tim sings some songs, Rob Sings others, and sometimes they sing together. Whatever the configuration, it sounds great both on record and live. Their set includes a few more of my favorites from the new album including “Northern Soul” and “All the Hurry and Wait”. (The beginning of “All the Hurry and Wait” reminds me of the Brian Jonestown Massacre song “Anenome.”) They finish up and I am totally satisfied.
Sidenote: DML are a super-gracious band too. I say this for two reasons — first, right before their last song, Andy starts breaking into the drum beat for “Fall”, when Tim yells “WAIT!” and very genuinely thanks everyone for coming out and watching their set. It’s always nice to see a band do a thing like that. Also, between sets I ran outside to see if I could grab a setlist. I caught Rob packing up on the side of the club and he explained that they didn’t use one but he then went inside to write one out for me for my review. Very cool.
When I get back, the Dandy Warhols have all their stuff set up. I start to think about how much crazier the TDW setup was that DML’s, with their elaborate lights and smoke machines. Then I remember that TDW released their first album 13 years ago, have released 5 since, and have toured the world extensively to sold-out crowds. Not to mention being the focal point of the critically acclaimed documentary DiG! (Alongside the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre).
Before their set starts, Courtney Taylor-Taylor directs everyone to the headcount booth http://www.headcount.org/ in the back, says a few words about the election, and then gets to playing. I can always appreciate an artist using their clout to get people behind a cause they care about.
Anyway, their set is really great. While the club isn’t completely sold out, it’s crowded and the people that are in there are loving it. One thing I noticed is that there were people of all ages rocking out. Yes, I did see twenty and thirty-somethings grooving, BUT I also saw 60-year-old guys in Hawaiian shirts, singing along to “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth”. They play a few new songs, including “Welcome to the Third World”, off their album Earth To The Dandy Warhols, which they released through their own label, Beat The World Records in August. “Welcome to the Third World” didn’t really jump out at me on the album, but after seeing it live, I absolutely have a new appreciation for it. The light show is also a big part of the Dandy’s set. Songs like “Bohemian Like You” really take a new shape with the elaborate visuals behind them and the audience responded accordingly. In addition to “Bohemian”, TDW broke out classics like “We Used to Be Friends” and “All the Money and the Simple Life Honey,” which are great to hear especially because I haven’t really spent time with those songs in years. Say what you want about their new album but all in all, TDW put on a great show and I can see why after 13 years they are still playing to packed rooms all over the world.
I get out of the club and feel good that I was able to check out two great bands with two great live shows. DML will be supporting TDW for a slew of dates across the US until they head to the UK for a series of shows. After their US jaunt, TDW will be touring all over the world, starting at the end of October and going through December, in support of Earth. The idea of touring relentlessly across the globe makes me start to feel exhausted, at which point I realize I can’t remember where I parked my car.