New York Irving Plaza
After drummer [b]Brent DeBoer[/b]'s surgery, they can only offer a partial fix...
"We're choosing songs wisely so Brent can function like a normal human being with a big fat head," Taylor explains.
DeBoer gives it his all for as long as he can, his massive Afro the cherry topping the set. Opener 'Be-In' propels the band's signature swirl-of-a-sound forward, into tracks like 'Mohammed', 'I Love You', 'Good Morning' and 'Godless'. Taylor's genial banter fills in the spaces in-between numbers, and he and keyboardist Zia McCabe let three friends from their hometown of Portland, Oregon, onstage during 'Boys Better'.
Then, after an hour or so, DeBoer's fluffy head sags like a balloon that's been popped. Uh oh. Taylor says the drummer is about to haemorrhage and, not surprisingly, the show's momentum fizzles. Taylor stands alone onstage, threatening to perform "Courtney's stand-up comedy routine" and encouraging the crowd to give him a big hand. Everyone has an opinion about what he should do next. Telling them all to settle down, Taylor strums a strong version of Kristin Hersh's 'Your Ghost' and slugs a "damn good" beer from a fan.
McCabe emerges for her own unplugged mini-set, first with Velvet Underground's 'After Hours', and then with her famous 'Goodnight Song', a number that is as adorable as she, about a daisy painted on her foot. McCabe doesn't flash us, as she is known to do, and the absence of 'Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth' - not to mention an encore - is badly felt.
For Warhols addicts, tonight's performance is only a partial fix.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday