Why Have the Dandy Warhols Become Synonymous With Christmas in Portland?

Behold, four reasons why Portland’s living musical tradition has survived nearly two decades and seemingly consumed McMenamins' holiday programming.

By Brandon Staley December 10, 2015

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The Dandy Warhols.

Image: Erich Bouccan

It’s been fifteen years since the Dandy Warhols brought the sounds of urban Bohemia to unsuspecting ears with their smash hit “Bohemian Like You.” There was national acclaim, there were international chart positions, it was a moment. Nowadays, though, it seems the Dandy Warhols are mostly headline material around the holiday season, when they’re hosting one of their Christmas galas—one tonight (December 10) at Edgefield and another this Saturday (December 12) at Crystal Ballroom. But what is it about these kings and queens of a bygone Bohemian era that keeps them relevant, specifically around the holidays? We threw on our sustainably harvested hemp sleuthing boots and free-range alpaca hair deerhunter and set out to investigate.

1. They grew up just like you—a Christmas miracle

Chances are if you’re old enough to puzzle at why your kids are obsessing over this “minecrafting” business nowadays, you’re old enough to remember when the Dandys first made it big. Things were less complicated back then. You could rock out ‘til the early morning, shouting lyrics about vegan food at the top of your lungs in a packed, sweaty Satyricon. Now you’ve got responsibilities in the form of kids, and so do they. You’ve all toned it down, and that’s okay. Take the opportunity this holiday to show your kiddos the music you grew up on, or at least an upbeat version of a Christmas carol. That’s like the same thing, right?

2. It’s a good chance to flex their sommelier skills

The Dandys’ now sold out show at the Edgefield isn’t just a chance for you to hear them play live—it’s also a chance to drink some wine selected by none other than frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. That’s right, members of a band once known for public nudity are serving you wine at a holiday gig. If you’ve already got your tickets, cherish them—Craigslist scalpers are out in force.

3. Portlanders need an excuse to get even weirder

Attendees are encouraged to dress up for the Saturday show at the Crystal Ballroom, and who doesn’t like to throw on a costume every now and again? The theme is “A Christmas Carol,” so you should probably consider a wardrobe suited to a chronologically appropriate ghost. If you think this all-ages event is going to really knock you on your bottom, you can always spring for the Dandy Warhols package, which boasts two tickets, a hotel room, and breakfast in the morning.

4. The Dandys are synonymous with Old Portland

The most logical reason why the Dandys are synonymous with the holidays is that they are so integrally tied to that now mythic Pacific Northwest epoch called Old Portland. You know, the time before we had to worry about Californians taking our most precious natural resource: bungalows. The holidays are a perfect time to reminisce, and the Dandys provide an opportunity for Old Portlanders to throw their collective gaze back to a time when soccer was a European thing and we still had an ATM art church.

For some added auld lang syne:

The Dandy Warhols play Edgefield on Thursday, December 10,
and the Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, December 12.

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