by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Celebrating Throwback Thursday…
Hard to believe this was 12 years ago. Dulli is still at it. He recently announced an “intimate solo tour,” which will see him make stops in 11 different countries for a total of 32 shows beginning on February 6, 2016, in Galway, Ireland and wrapping with a two-show engagement on April 1-2 at the Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
BTW, The Afghan Whigs are currently in the studio working on a new album for Sub Pop Records, which will be released later in 2016.
#TBT: Live review: The Twilight Singers, Marianas at Sokol Underground – Nov. 7, 2003
It will go down as arguably the best live show of 2003, and even more precious for the true Dulli/Whigs fans in the crowd (and there were plenty among the 165 on hand, judging by the age and the patter, the constant ongoing arguments over which was his best album, Black Love or Gentlemen or ’65). A handful of people had been there an hour earlier to hear the soundcheck, Dulli apparently was rife with comments about buying cocaine and playing pick-up cover songs. Afterward, Dulli and his band wheeled off to Gorat’s to get themselves a few platters of steak, prepping for a gut-wrenching night (I know those big fat steaks took their toll when, halfway through his set, Dulli said, “I need a nap.”).
While they were gone, Marianas played their set. The Lincoln 5-piece that prides itself on meticulously arranged ambient songs seemed a strange match for a white-knuckle gutter bluesman like Dulli and Co. It ended up being an interesting contrast. Marianas’ music is multi-layered, with two keyboardists, a guitarist, drummer and bassist/trumpeter. If they sounded like Tristeza on their debut CD, they sounded even more so live, like a blend with The Album Leaf and The Mercury Program. There were some obvious problems with their gear that the band must not have noticed from the stage — the guitar was either out of tune or (as one person told me) had a problem with its pedal. The low-end was overpowering, either from the bass or from the keyboard/synth/drum machine, occasionally drowning out the rest of the band. While the drummer did a good job keeping in the middle of everything, I so wanted him to let go and really punish his set. Their best songs featured the bassist on trumpet, and a unique cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning.” I like this band, and would love to see them open for someone like Low or Her Space Holiday.
Five minutes after their set ended, Dulli and his band walked in and within minutes The Twilight Singers lifted off.
Dulli looked like a lean, sweet, young Jake LaMotta, decked out black-on-black, his gleaming jet-black hair framing a face that is pure Italy by way of Greece, like a thin, fit John Belushi standing short beneath a microphone that was too high on purpose, forcing Dulli to squeeze upward with every note, while at the same time pulling down on his electric guitar.
There’s not much to say about the set other than it was as pure an hour and forty-five minutes as you’re going to hear from any performance. Dulli was in perfect voice; as if time had stood still since the day Gentleman was released 10 years ago. He was obviously having a good time, grinning at the crowd, at his band, at his guitar-tech who stood off to the side of the stage and poured him a plastic cup of Maker’s Mark, constantly feeding him cigarettes between songs. The whole band was tight as a tic, the drummer was especially flamboyant and acted as a perfect foil to Dulli’s wide-open front-man pose.
I’ve always liked the Afghan Whigs, and own Gentleman and Black Love, but I couldn’t tell you the name of one of his songs. I recognized a few old Whigs tunes, and the tunes off the most recent Twilight Singers CD, which blended seamlessly together, along with a barrage of covers inset within the songs themselves, covering everything from Prince to Derek and the Dominos to Skip Spence (Moby Grape) to The Zombies. Regardless, I knew the purist would be disappointed without a set list, so I swiped one from the stage after the band finished its encores. Here it is, copied letter-for-letter:
That Bird Sings
Dixie Peach / Ying for Yang
Black is the Color/Time of The Season
Throughout the set, Dulli referenced Council Bluffs at least a half-dozen times, asking the crowd to join him there for a drink after the gig. He deserved it. We all did after that set. I left thinking that Dulli has one of the most distinct and awesome voices in the history of rock, the perfect instrument that can make you cower or cry or stand up straight right alongside him, wanting to testify to love both good and bad and every which way, a dark love that Dulli has seen and wants you to see with him. — Lazy-i, Nov. 7, 2003
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Back to the present…
Kevin Coffey of the Omaha World-Herald just posted another interview with Dan McCarthy in support of tomorrow night’s album release show at O’Leaver’s. You can read it here, and if you haven’t yet, you can read my interview with Dan in The Reader, online here.
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Speaking of fabulous O’Leaver’s, there’s a great show happening there tonight. Cursive’s favorite (recent) tour mates, Beach Slang returns to the club for what should be a rowdy night of rock. Also on the bill is Philly band Lithuania featuring Dominic Angelella and Eric Slick of Dr. Dog. Brooklyn punk band Worriers, whose debut full-length was produced by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, kicks things off at 9. This one’s $7.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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