LA Review 03

El Rey
November 26

Entertainment Today

by Steven Hanna

Twilight Singers frontman Greg Dulli is so fervently adored among rock fans because he’s one of the few people out there whose faith in rock ’n’ roll remains unwaveringly true. Like an evil Bruce Springsteen, he peppered his marathon, magnificent El Rey show with snippets and covers of favorite rock and soul numbers, all reworked to plumb their darkest depths. Coming from Dulli’s mouth, the Zombies’ “Time of the Season” was more threat than enticement, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” was more sinister than mysterious, and Outkast’s “Hey Ya” sounded like a man beating his girlfriend and insisting all the while that he’s doing it because he loves her. Maybe I do Dulli a disservice here by emphasizing the sexual violence lurking in the shadows of his music—if I’m dissuading you from buying the Twilight Singers’ great, jet-black new Blackberry Belle, then I’m doing you one as well—but it’s Dulli’s core belief in, or resignation to, the dangerous side of masculinity that links the moodier partyscapes of the Twilight Singers with the riffy thunder of Dulli’s old band, the much-missed and never-topped Afghan Whigs. In that sense, everything from feedback-filled opener “Fat City” to a valedictory run through the Whigs classic “Faded” was a dark celebration of the swaggering, booze-swilling power of rock music itself, and it left you exhausted and in awe. It also left Dulli a tad sloshed, though that hardly diminished his mesmerizing stage presence: “If you’re enjoying the show,” Dulli slurred during his first encore, “please direct your letters of thanks to the Maker’s Mark Corporation.”

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