I had the good fortune of attending the Twilight Singers show Tuesday night at the Paradise. I had caught Greg Dulli's previous band, the Afghan Whigs, a few times at the same venue in the '90s, most recently on their 1998 tour for their final album, 1965.
Dulli always puts on a great show, and he didn't disappoint this time around. The Twilight Singers are ostensibly touring behind their excellent new EP, A Stitch in Time, as well as Powder Burns, the band's full-length that was released earlier this year. After fine sets from openers Stars of Track and Field and Twilight Singers keyboardist/guitarist Jeff Klein, Dulli and crew took the stage of the not-quite sold out club. A little paunchier than in his Whigs days, Dulli took center stage with his mike stand specially tricked out with beer holder on one side and ashtray on the other (the Twilight Singers like their cancer sticks--most of them were chain-smoking throughout the show).
The band ripped through a 90-minute set chock full of Dulli's roiling, dark tales of addiction and love gone wrong. There was nary a song by the beloved Afghan Whigs, but Dulli offered snippets of covers throughout, including a line from Led Zep's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" and later from Steve Miller's "The Joker." Highlights included the opening three songs, "Teenage Wristband," "I'm Ready," and "Bonnie Brae," as well as the band's take on TV On the Radio's "Wolf Like Me."
Guest star Mark Lanegan lent his formidable presence to the show, coming out to sing three songs in mid-set and two more during the encore; Lanegan performed a similar role when I saw Queens of the Stone Age last year. Unlike the jovial Dulli, who was cracking up throughout the show with his bandmates, Lanegan was all business. He came out, sang his songs--a cover of Massive Attack's "Live With Me," "I'll Take Care of You," and "Sideways in Reverse"--and walked off stage before the last song even ended. The dude's got some serious presence, though, with that awesome low growl of a voice of his. After his last song during the encore, he barely acknowledged the crowd with a slight nod of his head.
Dulli was quite the showman, dropping to his knees at one point, playing steady rhythm guitar, and playing a few songs on piano, which was right in front me as you can see from the photo I took on my camera phone. You can almost make out facial features. Woo hoo! Dulli even took a shot at the Red Sox for their expensive pursuit of Japanese pitcher Daiksuke Matsuzaka: "I can't believe you guys paid $51 million just to talk to him." The show ended just before midnight, meaning I had a long day ahead of me, but it didn't matter. Good times.