Live Review: Dean & Britta, 13 Most Beautiful Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests at Atlanta Symphony Hall, March 31
Andy Warhol once asked if it would be possible to have a love affair that lasts forever. So far, we’re still in love with Andy.
On Saturday night, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips presented their original score to 13 black and white screen tests shot by Warhol. Former band mates from Luna, the duo was originally commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh to craft this marriage of sound and vision.
The films run about four minutes each, and feature both rare and recognized characters from Warhol’s Silver Factory: poets from San Francisco, actors, models, drug addicts, and Andy’s lovers. They have heroic names like Paul America and Ingrid Superstar.
Dean and Britta, accompanied by two other musicians, moved between keyboards and guitars while trading songs and stories about the Factory scene. They covered Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep it with Mine” for Nico’s film, and chose the rare Velvet Underground track, “Not a Young Man Anymore” for Reed’s appearance. But the audience seemed to be expecting a different kind of concert. An anxious family behind us observed: “I don’t see the orchestra set up down there…”
On the screen, some subjects pose and some simply pass the time. Nico fondles her flaxen hair. Lou Reed drinks a bottle of Coke. And Baby Jane Holzer brushes her teeth for the longest four minutes I’ve ever experienced.
Dean spoke with a sense of reverence about Warhol and the Factory’s regulars. We watched living faces of the dead, and listened to his quiet voice in the darkened cavern of the symphony hall. The entire experience felt like being in church. After a bit of research, I discovered that the duo has, in fact, performed the cycle in a Catholic church in Paris. Appropriately, the night’s encore concluded with a beautiful rendition of Joy Division’s Ceremony.
Watch Dean & Britta pay homage to Warhol in their video for “Knives from Bavaria” here http://www.deanandbritta.com/videos.htm