The Dandy Warhols: Brussels Ancienne Belgique

The Dandy Warhols, like, play some of their songs in, like, Belgium. Like, cool...

It’s all in the names, of course. There’s the slightly embarrassing artsiness and the drugged-out-of-your-mind humour of the band name. And then there’s Courtney Taylor, the very man for whom the saying “nomen est omen” must have been invented. He’s Courtney Love and Liz Taylor rolled into one, a freak genetic accident gone absolutely, perfectly right. It’s his real name, mind, so unlike Marilyn Manson, nature really meant it like this for him.

Tonight, he coyly strides on stage in near-darkness, quietly muttering “how are you guys doing?” before launching into the sleep-deprived, creepily hypnotic ‘Be-In’, which neatly segues into ‘Mohammed’. For all the world, you get the impression that you’re watching a Ride show circa 1991.

It’s not until the big rock’n’roll stadium lighting kicks in during ‘Shakin” that you realise The Dandy Warhols are basically shoegazers with their eyes firmly fixed on the stars. The line “baby, baby, you act like a star” gets extra emphasis, as if to show that Taylor knows perhaps a little too well what he’s doing. But that self-consciousness doesn’t hinder tonight’s inspired, if somewhat lengthy, set, highlights of which include the Motorhead riffing and primal screaming of ‘Horse Pills’, and a glorious rendition of ‘Boys Better’, easily their best song to date.

Aside from the sometimes messy guitar drones which frequently drown out Courtney’s voice, the only disappointment in Brussels tonight is that The Dandy Warhols don’t live up to their superbly decadent last-of-the-great-rock-stars reputation. Only once tonight does Courtney Taylor tell the tale of a girlfriend who traded him in for a rock star higher up the ladder of universal fame, and that, frankly, isn’t enough. They got the songs right this time, next time we’d like some tales of urban debauchery too.

Manu Lammens