Thursday, March 20, 2008

God's Children

As another busy week winds down, time to reflect on a most excellent Tuesday night spent at the Paradise checking out the inimitable Gutter Twins. Much like the Twilight Singers show at the same venue in November 2006, a lot of the same players were on stage: Greg Dulli, Mark Lanegan, bassist Scott Ford, and guitarist/keyboardist Jeff Klein were all back, with the difference this time being Lanegan stayed on stage the entire show instead of singing a handful of songs and taking off. Also like last time, just about everyone on stage smoked like chimneys (except Lanegan), but one thing noticeably absent was alcohol. Last time around, Dulli had a cupholder on his mike stand for his beer and an ashtray holder on the other side. Whatever the case, the band sounded great and played most of their new album Saturnalia.

I was front and center and had the joy of being in front of a mustachioed drunk dude from Rhode Island who was dancing up a storm and knew every word of every song. At one point, he picked up his wife/girlfriend and sort of held her up, and Dulli looked over and in mid-song smiled and said, "You better take that top off, lady!" And sure enough, she flashed him. Still singing, his eyes widened and he said, "That's why I joined a band."

Highlights of the show included an intense version of "Front Street" off the new album, which fits right in with songs like "What Jail is Like" from Dulli's first and best-known band, the Afghan Whigs. Ever the showman, Dulli held court and razzed the crowd for not clapping enough during songs, even threatening to play Providence instead next time around. Co-frontman Lanegan stood still as a statue on stage, expressionless when he wasn't unleashing that sinister growl of his. The band visited some keyposts of his past with versions of his solo songs "The River Rise," "Hit the City" and "Methamphetamine Blues," as well as a snippet of "Shadow of the Season" from his old band The Screaming Trees. The band also played some choice Twilight Singers cuts including "I'm Ready" and a cover of Massive Attack's "Live With Me." As the band wrapped up the encore, Lanegan bolted off stage before anyone could even clap for him; Dulli noted, "I think he wants to say thank you." And then he delivered his parting shot: "See you in Providence next summer!"

The band was on Letterman last night (although they taped the appearance Monday). Check out the Globe and Herald reviews.

I'm looking forward to checking out the three-guitar Southern rock attack of the Drive-By Truckers Saturday night at the 'Dise, with the Whigs (no relation to the Afghan Whigs but a good band nonetheless) opening up.

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