The Twilight Singers - Live In New York
Greg Dulli's funk genes were brewed in the dark late 60s-early 70s rather than in the "Everyday People," "I Got You" earlier days. Dulli, as life imitates art, has wallowed in that funk of hard drugs, bad women and cynical politics ever since the Afghan Whigs days. The double CD set "Live in New York" continues that jag, though with his usual wit, brilliance and antisocial poetry intact. The Twilight Singers have evolved from a more mellow, slightly gothic, slightly positive side-project into a continuation of Dulli's long-standing jaundiced vision. I still think we are the better for it: name another artist who started in the 90s that still keeps both the 60s and punk alive with his spirit and "I can't believe I'm still alive" aesthetic. He almost embodies the rock tangent of Jerry Lee to Velvets to Johnny Thunders all by himself.
For all the smoky vibes, Dulli's songs benefit from the volume and grit that live performance gives them. The opening "Last Night In Town" is a sweaty, gruesome slugfest, and the rest of the record does not dampen that promise. Dulli has always been unpredictable in concert, but also generous: long shows, covers, snippets of tunes, and of course the smart-ass between song patter. It is all here in sweaty, unself-conscious glory. "Love," "Blackbird and The Fox," "Decatur St." and "On The Corner" especially benefit from the loose and loud treatment. Part of the appeal of Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers is that on record the songs have a menace, as if at any moment they might come unglued and musically match the sinister strut of the lyrics. Live, they do just that, and the effect is often gleefully overwhelming.
Greg Dulli is one of the few consistently decadent artists who give you the impression that he means ever word he says. On "Live in New York," in case you need proof, he and the band deliver his special message of love and loss with fury and danger. Caution: the real deal at work.
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