Monday, May 25, 2009

The House of Greg Dulli (concert report)

Greg Dulli lead singer of Afghan Whigs/ Twilight Singers/ Gutter Twins sings with the earnestness and urgency of a Southern Baptist Preacher but from an ideological standpoint, the gulf between them could not be further apart. After having seen him with the Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins repeatedly, I can report that Mr. Dulli could possibly be doing one or all of the following from the stage: smoking 3 or 4 cigs at the same time, sweating profusely, grinning like he stole money from the collection plate, delaying the start of the concert 2 hrs because 9pm is too early for a denizen of the night to start working, singing as if he were at the Crossroads trying to save his soul.
Greg walks on the dark side of things without really coming off as evil. He is a congenial host who will smile pleasantly before lighting into a songs about ladies of the night and drugs all the while gulping on almond colored liquor. The givens are that his band is always tight, that
Mark Lanegan is always hunching in the shadows waiting to waiting to slow the pace with his guttural whiskey wisened vocals and that a religious experience will be had by all. At all three concerts they played well past 2am, which is probably their optimal high energy time of day. The crowds at all the shows were well behaved and it doesn't hurt that Dulli doesn't have a "radio" song, so there can't possibly be a neophyte in the crowd requesting one. The leers and grunts from the stage, which are abound at Greg's shows, send the audience into a communal roar. The mere strains of the beginnings of songs elicit cat calls and howls from everyone looking up at the stage littered with candelabras. The audience is picking up on the Dulli vibe and responding in like kind.
And then Dulli and company are off to the next town where all of this will happen again. Greg will proudly strut up to the mic and wonder loudly whether "tonight's" crowd will be louder than the one in the last town...and Mr. Dulli will have them eating out of his hand from the start and the only real question is, how far down will he lead them?


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