I’ve already mentioned how stupidly excited I am about the impending Afghan Whigs reunion. A handful of shows and then… gone again. I hope Greg ‘Muthafuckin’ Dulli doesn’t renege on that: I’d rather a brief, glorious return than a risky full-on reunion full of compromises and disappointments (especially judging by the new tracks on their Unbreakable compilation).
In their prime, Afghan Whigs were one of the most astonishing live bands I’ve ever seen. Moving in a few short years from what was basically a grunge band – a cut above the rest, but still – to something more akin to a full on soul revue band, by their end it was more like a Vegas show than some flannel-clad rock thing. Dulli – a quasi-menacing blend of Joaquin Phoenix, Elvis and a failed chubby mobster – was, to him at least, a guilt-racked sex machine who was more likely to drop TLC lyrics than Kick Out The Jams. Or slip into some Al Green and just about get away with it.
I saw them a bunch of times, the last time at the height of their excess (and Dulli’s too) and I thought then that maybe they’d finally gone too far. The backing singers and percussion I could handle, but it was the jazzy looking dude on electric piano that sealed it.
But I’m here to tell you, brothers and sisters, I was all kinds of wrong. The soul brother number one fantasy playing out in Dulli’s head was a beautiful thing and we were honoured to see it before the wheels came off his narcotic wagon.
In tribute to that, a rare thing for this blog, a whole album. Or bootleg, anyway, of the band really tearing it up in New York City in 1998, with a full New Orleans brass section. And a bit of a Tupac cover. The soul, R&B and hiphop referencing medleys. The endless patter and ludicrous segues, the brass solos, the lot.
If they’re anywhere near this good in May I’ll explode.
2. papa was a rolling stone / blame, etc
3. going to town
5. when we two parted / ex-factor
6. my curse
7. uptown again
8. what jail is like
10. band intros / fountain and fairfax
13. more jam
14. california love / talk
15. more talk
16. john the baptist
18. papa was a rascal
19. king only
20. omerta / vampire lanois
(the bootleg was originally in a bunch of badly separated and tagged mp3s so I’ve stitched them back together)
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment