Moving on: Once upon a time, a very long time ago, before Pinkie and I were best friends forever and the fabulous hipster tastemakers we are today, we were just two teenage girls growing up in the middle of nowhere in totally different parts of Texas. And we had totally different interests in music: Pinkie was a total Goth, I was more uh, folk-y, I guess. We both dabbled in "alternative," which you may recall, in the early/mid 90's was the catch-all phrase for everything from Nirvana to anything written about in Spin to stuff played on college radio. But something very special happened when we heard The Afghan Whigs' Gentelmen, a thousand miles apart. We fell for the music and the frontman; Pinkie looked a little beyond goth, I stopped listening to the Indigo Girls on repeat. Greg Dulli had cut his long mane, revealing the smokin' hot, dark, and mysterious man underneath, just as Gentlemen pulled back the curtain on the promise hinted at on The Whigs' earlier albums, Up In It and Congregation. We were smitten. [Handy visual aid, if ya need it...]
When Pinkie and I first met in late 2004 through a mutual friend, our very first conversation was about how we weren't generally into the frontman mystique, but all bets were off when it came to the utter hottness of Greg Dulli. I filled her in with regards to his latest project, The Twilight Singers, and how it was more than just The Afghan Whigs redux. The albums to date were the work of a mature artist and performer; the lyrics cut deeper, the music is a giant wall of sound, the Dulli persona more fully-formed.
We missed Greg Dulli and The Twilight Singers in the hectic madhouse that was SXSW this year, but caught the band at the Parish Friday night. It was hot and disgusting out (which is to say, a typical June night in Austin), but we got dolled up in our very best dresses -- because if you're not going to get dressed up for Greg Dulli, who are you gonna do it for? And we were handsomely rewarded; it was one of the best rock shows we'd attended in a long time. There's something to be said for the shambles and unpredictability of your average indie rock set, but sometimes you want the performer and the artist; you want intimacy and polish -- and all this (and more) is on offer. A Twilight Singers show is a debauched white-tent revival extravaganza, with seasoned journeymen in the backing band and (the still ravishingly attractive) Dulli taking on the two-faced role of the charismatic preacher and the devil ripe for exorcism -- all while smoking (because a performer working on stage isn't subject to the smoking ban), wailing on his vintage hollow body black Gibson, and crooning with the sexy, shattered wail of fallen angel. He shimmies like Elvis, drops to his knees like James Brown, hollers for the crowd to give him more, more, more. And we do, gladly, gratefully 'cause someone's come to redeem us in a haze of near-forgotten cigarette smoke and a sea of shakin' asses. The Twilight Singers (with Mark Lanegan), Afterhours, and part-time Austinite Jeff Klein continue to cut a swath across North America for the rest of the month; July and August will see them in the UK and hitting the high points of the Euro summer festival circuit. (Best moment of the night: When a guy hollered for Skynyrd -- as someone always does -- Dulli reminded the dude that covering Skynyrd never gets you chicks, and immediately launched into a delicious cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
Twilight Singers -- Teenage Wristband
Twilight Singers -- Underneath the Waves (repost)
Twilight Singers -- Too Tough To Die
Afghan Whigs -- Be Sweet
Also: are you interested in buying my barely-used acoustic guitar? I know you are! I'll consider shipping it if you're out of town, but naturally, I'd prefer a local buyer... Let me know!
And, if that weren't exciting enough, Pinkie and I will be DJ'ing with New.Berlin and assorted others, along with video artist ALCM at Emo's Corner Bar (6th and Red River) June 23, 2006 -- come by before or after the Sonic Youth show! More details to come, natch.
Bonus: The National -- Minor Star of Rome (from The Believer 2006 Music Issue) Oh, and Brian over at Bows + Arrows has the "Parisian Party Version" of "Lit Up." Both are one-take live studio recordings, if I'm not mistaken. Nicely done, guys!