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From alt rock to The Walking Dead

Emily Kinney at the Civic (Photo: Steven Hatley)

Emily Kinney at the Civic (Photo: Steven Hatley)

The Dandy Warhols and Emily Kinney recently came through New Orleans, and they demonstrate opposite ends of the path-to-music-fame spectrum.

Los Angles’ Emily Kinney got her start in 2006, but really started to be noticed in 2011, when she was cast in AMC’s The Walking Dead. The show was her springboard to fame, as it allotted her the opportunity to perform a cappella onscreen. With the show’s popularity, Kinney was able to re-release her second EP, Expired Lover, in 2014, and her first full-length This is War in October. After her departure from the show, she did a few guest appearances and, in 2014, turned her focus to her music career.

Kinney has said that her music is reminiscent of Tom Waits in that, like his, it’s about telling stories. Her love of Waits was self-evident as she covered “Hold On” for the series and played it with her full band Monday night at the Civic Theater. Her set was a showcase of her debut album. Kinney bantered with the crowd, taking time to profess her love for the city on more than one occasion and giving several introductary stories to her songs.

Those going to Kinney’s show expecting to see her character Beth from The Walking Dead would have been highly disappointed. There was only one true Beth moment, when she sang “Dad Says” a cappella. Kinney has made great strides separating herself from the TV series, although she did paid homage to it with covers of two of the songs she performed on the show. The addition of a backing band rounded out those covers and made for topnotch accompaniment to her other songs.

The Dandy Warhols at the Joy Theater (Photo: Steven Hatley)

The Dandy Warhols at the Joy Theater (Photo: Steven Hatley)

In contrast, The Dandy Warhols, who took their name from a play on Andy Warhol’s name, have taken a slower road to success. The band has put out nine albums since 1995 (Kinney was 9 when the group got started). For the most part, the band has managed to keep its original form, with the exception of adding a new drummer in 1998. Their set at the Joy Theater spanned their entire career. Having been together for so long, the band works together like a well-oiled machine. Each song had its own looks and crowd banter was kept to a minimum.

The Dandy Warhols, for the most par,t are a straightforward alt rock band that mixes random dance beats into set. The loudest reception of the night, as expected, came with the band’s performance of its biggest hit, “Bohemian Like You.”

The live music environment in New Orleans is an ever-changing organic beast that allows audiences to take in a vast catalog of sounds, from in the various phases of their careers. Emily Kinney and The Dandy Warhols represent far different genres but share a love for what they are doing. And they just happened to cross by chance in the Crescent City.

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