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The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy WarholsThe New Pollution
The Astor Theatre
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coming across time and space to deliver a care package of delicious music, The Dandy Warhols were nothing short of magical as they hit the Astor as a part of their bash around Australia before returning home for a rigorous North American tour. The Dandy Warhols are practically iconic. They represent that part of the ’90s where genre titles meant nothing and exceptional, experimental music connected a new generation of music lovers. They’re my new favourite old band.

Joining the Dandies, and cracking the stage wide open in anticipation of their set, were the all-together too cool Melbournian neo-psych posse The New Pollution. Hailing originally from dardy P-Town, TNP filled the theatre with heavily resonant and drone-y sounds, the cavernous space becoming awash with ghostly frequencies. Vocals called out vaguely over a wash of mellow, yet sometimes incredibly dark, constructions. Without getting too morose here, there was a real sense of despair to some of these pieces; a depression in sound, accentuated by flashes of beautiful hope. Like all good psychedelically-oriented music, the emotions seemed to come in rolling waves, only to softly ebb away as the set came to a close. This was the epitome of a well considered opening set.

The Dandies warholled around a little but soon enough their set began. The first beautiful, drone-y note rang out and silenced the jittery crowd. Over the mesmerising hum, a thumping break-beat broke the sonic soliloquy and I was immediately lost. Suddenly, they broke out into the classic anthem We Used To Be Friends, and everyone seemed to remember where they were. Hands were raised and what had to be three generations of music lovers began to move. This really is psychedelic music with no preconceptions of what it should be, forgoing the namastes and herbal teas for something direct and experiential.

It felt like they knew exactly what the crowd wanted. At one point, a heavy and evolving drone was laid out over a picture perfect four by four beat. With the lights flashing and atmosphere sensational, it was almost impossible not to sway and stomp, eyes half open, lost in the epiphany. The perfect live experience should involve particular measures of bodily ecstasy and mental invigoration. This was that perfect live experience. Coming from the intersection where grunge, psychedelia and electronic music meet, whatever it was about that time and place have created a diamond. In a world where popular music is dominated by those with the money to build the perfect image, The Dandy Warhols are the reminder that what we’re really searching for is the perfect music – and it does exist. Trust me, I felt it.

JAMES HANLON