buy the afghan whigs in spades

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Greg Dulli – NYC Review (Pitchfork)

Ryan Dombal,

“The lights are creepin’ back up,” said former Afghan Whigs and current Twilight Singers leader Greg Dulli. “Let’s make it darker.” Then the lighting person nearly put Dulli and his three-man backing band in complete blackness. Which is exactly what he wanted. It makes sense. Most of the tracks played on this night were originated by the black-on-black Twilight Singers and dealt with how love and death are intertwined with each other. Lots of characters cry in Greg Dulli songs, but you’d never call the singer-songwriter– now 45 and slackening under his loose, man-in-black attire– the sensitive type. He’s still a badass who’ll tell off a dude checking his e-mail in the front row, even if Dulli was shockingly cigarette-less and only seen drinking water during the gig.

Part of his current “Evening With” tour, the show featured Dulli breaking down his tunes for acoustic arrangements alongside Twilight Singers guitarist Dave Rosser, Polyphonic Spree string player Rick Nelson, and a drummer playing bass and snare. The setup sometimes added a gothic touch to Dulli’s dark grunge, but also sent some of the more morose tunes into unpleasant wrist-cutter territory.

Those hoping for a healthy helping of relatively jaunty old Whigs tracks were not in luck, though the few he played– including “66” and “Summers’ Kiss”– were welcome respites from the surrounding direness. While it seemed like Dulli couldn’t totally connect with older, happier material about love that hadn’t totally soured, he had a good time with it nonetheless. Like when he worked a little bit of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” into “66”: “I guess I shoulda known by the way you parked your car sideways,” he sang with a smile. Dulli’s delivery could make even the lightest line feel rough and raw, so the spare dreariness of this show could be overkill.

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