J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Twilight Singers – Cat’s Cradle, Carborro, North Carolina – 3rd June 2006

There are a class of performers who defy expectation when it comes to how cool...how suave..how..ah, how debonair they are on stage. I saw Pulp perform once, and if you know what Jarvis Cocker looks like, there’s no way you’d expect him to be that sexy on stage. But it works. The same goes for Greg Dulli. The swagger and dynamic menace that so typified his lyrics and performance in the Afghan Whigs have not been tempered by time. And as such, seeing his post-Whigs band, the Twilight Singers, is a revelation for those of us too young (me) or too ignorant (me also) to have seen the Whigs in their heyday.

Opening with the pounding Powder Burns track “I’m Ready,” the Singers lit up a tremendous show. Pulling a fair number of tracks from their excellent new album, as well as reaching back to the magnificent Blackberry Belle, She Loves You and Dulli’s solo album, Amber Headlights, the set varied in tone, but never in power. “Bonnie Brae,” “Underneath the Waves” and “Forty Dollars” were highlights from the new album, especially “Forty Dollars”’s borrowing of lines from the Beatles’ “She Loves You” which makes for a great crowd sing-along. “Underneath the Waves” was even more bracing and bursting than its studio counterpart which was part for the course for the renditions.

Other peaks included the cover of Martina Topley-Bird’s “Too Tough to Die” which they had covered for the She Loves You covers album. Dulli’s phrasing and movements gave this song an even sultrier reading than in the studio, proving his supreme worth as a live performer. In the encore, the Singers even managed to make an adequate go at covering Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” something that has been typical of Dulli’s work over time. He seems to love to take stabs at current, popular songs that would otherwise be outside of the style of music he generally creates, having done a rendition of Outkast’s “Roses” the last time I saw them.

For me, the zenith of the night came in the last song of the encore. Dulli baited the crowd by questioning if we wanted “to go back.” An enthusiastic reply was answered with “all the way back to 1993..it was a good year for me,” ’93 being the release year for the Afghan Whigs’ much-lauded Gentlemen album. The opening guitar lines came and the intense, on-edge opening of “Fountain and Fairfax” came tearing through the venue.

This is where I diverge from my somewhat reserved reading of this in order to explain just how much it meant to me to hear that song. Having become an admittedly rabid fan of the Afghan Whigs (and a pretty big fan of Dulli’s work in general) in the last few years, I never thought I’d be blessed to hear my favorite Whigs song played live by anyone. I had a small freak out, as my companion from that night can attest, and spent the last few minutes of the show belting the lyrics out with abandon. It was an amazing way to end a fantastic concert.

The Twilight Singers are putting together a really fantastic collection of albums and their live show, for fans of Dulli or of the Singers’ music in general, is definitely worth catching.


Post a Comment

<< Home