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Cinci 03 Review

The Twilight Singers/Staggering Statistics, The Southgate House, Newport, Kentucky, November 11 – by Brandy “Vizzah” Voiles


It’s official – everything Greg Dulli touches is golden. Even though the Afghan Whigs broke up in 1999, he’s yet to disappoint in his other projects. First he scratched his way into our hearts and head as the frontman for Cincinnati’s Afghan Whigs, went on to produce (see LoFidelity Allstars, Fila Brazila, “Backbeat” and “Beautiful Girls” soundtracks), and now he continues his legend with the ever changing Twlight Singers. I spent my last $12 and remained awake for 48 hours to make sure that I saw the Twilight Singers at the Southgate House when they came around November 11. All of this mostly because of my devotion as fan, but also because there had been rumors of a semi Whigs reunion at some shows. I knew if it was going to happen, it would have to happen in Cincinnati…or at least just across the 471 bridge.

There was only one opener – Staggering Statistics, featuring former Whigs bass player John Curley. These guys were good, but are still green as a collective and have a lot left to prove.
They seemed out of sorts, and just didn’t have the cock-rock vibe I was expecting from the band of a former Whigs member. The most entertaining part of their set was when Dulli and company showed up on the balcony, throwing shit at them just as he’d promised to do in his recent Citybeat interview.

After that, the crowd was anxious for their fix and the 90 minute wait between bands didn’t help, but as always, the wait was worth every minute. The Twilight singers finally entered stage left, one by one: lead guitarist Jon Skibic, keyboard player Mathias Schneeberger, bassist Scott Ford and Bobby Bacintyre on drums. The anticipation in the room as they tuned up could have choked an ox. Everyone’s man of the hour finally took the stage to thunderous applause and an accidental cloud of smoke. Dulli reveled in the sound of his superfans for a moment, then launched right into “Esta Noche,” off their latest release Blackberry Belle. The band sounded phenomenal as they fired through crowd favorites from the new record and Twilight as Played By…, even throwing in a cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloud Busting.”

Of course, Dulli was doing his usual showboating that only a “Nati” crowd can appreciate. About ten songs into the set, he fumbled through the evolution of jazz in his own words, starting with Coltrane and ending with a Marvin Gaye cover. Not long after that, he asked that the lights be dimmed and clamored for several minutes about his bar in L.A. before anyone knew where he was going with it. The story turned out to be about the late Elliot Smith, who was Dulli’s late night regular for months. He dedicated “Martin Eden” to the late singer-songwriter who committed suicide recently, emphasis on the lines “you know how I love stormy weather/so let’s all play suicide.”

As usual, he had plenty to say about the people that he didn’t like, pulling a jab at Ryan Adams – “the guy’s written some great, beautiful songs…but chiiiill, niggaaaaaa!” They ended the set with a cover of the Zombies “Time of the Season,” which made every female in the place crawl when he warbled “what’s your name…who’s your daddy?” The man is sex.

If you ever went to an Afghan Whigs show, you know to bring the noise until you squeeze more than one encore out of them. The crowd roared for a good solid five minutes until Dulli came back to the stage and performed “Love” (supposedly formerly titled Black Love, and was supposed to be aforementioned album’s title track) solo. The rest of the Twilight Singers then joined back in for “The Killer” and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Briannon,” and a vague explanation of Dulli’s newfound love for Stevie Nicks.

By this time, everyone knew that John Curley was there, and has also spotted ex-Whigs drummer Michael Horrigan and backup singer Doug Falsetti. Lust for a reunion was in the air. After another deafening round of applause, TS took the stage again and taunted the crowd with a half-cover of “Edge of Seventeen,” promising they’d give the full dose when they came back to town. Greg called on his former band mates to come join in, and every heart that was broken when the Whigs broke up years ago was magically mended on sight as they rocked right into a few favorites from their swan song, 1965. The showboater pointed out his mother and little sister in the balcony, noting that a subscription to Hustler would be great for Christmas. And giving credit where credit is due, they finished off the final encore with a mish-mash of “Little Red Corvette,” which melted into “Faded,” and finally into “Purple Rain.”

Even though this probably doesn’t signal that a full-blown reunion is in the works, it was all you could ask for just to see most of the Afghan Whigs perform together one last time. But that’s not to say the Twilight Singers aren’t an astoundingly talented band in their own right; Greg Dulli and his new team of cronies are clearly widening their path of destruction towards an unsuspecting audience, and a whole crop of new fans.

Set List:
Esta Noche
Teenage Wristband
The Twilight Kid
That’s Just How That Bird Sings
If I Were Going
Cloud Busting (Kate Bush Cover)
Decatur St.
A Love Supreme/unknown Marvin Gaye cover
All You Need Is Love
Annie Mae
Crime Scene Part One
Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
Time of the Season (Zombies Cover)
Martin Eden (Elliot Smith tribute)
King Only

Encore I:
Love (Dulli Solo)
The Killer
Layla (Eric Clapton Cover)
Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

Encore II:
Edge of Seventeen (Stevie Nicks Cover)
Uptown Again
Little Red Corvette
Purple Rain

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