The Third Shift

A vagabond who's made his home in the Pacific Northwest.

assorted, paraphrased witticisms and stage banter from Greg Dulli.

  • During the opening to “Crime Scene Part One”: “Hey, you two — get the fuck away from each other. You go to that side, you go to that side. I will stop this song if there’s any fighting.”
  • "I’ve been in Portland for the last two days. I’ve been coming here for 25 years. I was at a Whole Foods in the Pearl [District] yesterday. There didn’t used to be a Whole Foods in the Pearl."
  • Before “Conjure Me”: This one goes back to the Satyricon days.” (Satyricon was a venerable, scuzzy rock club where everyone who was anyone in alt-rock in the late 80s-early 90s played — it was demolished two years ago.)
  • "I know you all have paid to see this because I’m a neurotic motherfucker. There’s a serious voyeurism thing going on here. That’s the show you want to see. I get that."
  • "Cully [Symington, drummer]: drop the big one on ‘em."
  • Before “When We Two Parted”: “If you’re with the one you love tonight, hold her close for this song and don’t let her go.” 
  •  ”Who the fuck fights during ‘Faded’?” (He then stopped the song, went down and confronted the guys, walked back on stage, and started again.)
  • During “Omerta”: “Brothers, does she love you? [Dudes: “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”] Sisters, does he love you? [Ladies: “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”] Well, sisters, if he doesn’t love you, come and meet me backstage!”

(Did the best I could for accuracy from memory.)

Here’s another Dulli shot for you.

Greg Dulli, getting his stroll on. (at Wonder Ballroom)

Greg Dulli covering Leonard Cohen’s “Paper Thin Hotel” for Rolling Stone. Achingly beautiful.

(again, via the Awl)

Afghan Whigs Reunite for First Shows in 13 Years, Playing ATP Fests | SPIN.com

I think I need to get myself to Asbury Park next September, don’t I?

The Afghan Whigs, “Somethin’ Hot”

One of three entries I’m doing for today’s themesong of “sex scene.”

Baby, you don’t know
Just how I lie awake
And dream awhile about your smile
And the way you make your ass shake.

The Afghan Whigs with Marcy Mays, “My Curse”

Hurt me, baby.
I flinch so when you do.
Your kisses scourge me.
Hyssop in your perfume.

Oh, I do not fear you.
And “slave” I only use
As a word to describe
The special way I feel for you.

For today’s themesong of “angels and devils,” because it’s a song so much about Greg Dulli’s Catholic guilt/sex/love/complex that he couldn’t even bear to sing it on record — there is something divine and hellish there. Dulli couldn’t front his indie rock lothario act with this one, so he asked Scrawl’s Marcy Mays to sing it for him. Dulli would sing it live at times, but all those performances sound wrong.  Asking a woman to sing it lent these self-loathing and domineering, ugly feelings beauty.

The Twilight Singers, “Teenage Wristband”

She said, “You wanna go for a ride?
I got no more money to burn
And I’m gonna stay up all night.”

There’s still a chance for rapture if you go see Dulli & Co.

Guess who’s coming back to Portland tomorrow night?

I got $18 to burn on a ticket and I’m gonna stay up all night after going to the box office at the Wonder Ballroom tonight to pick up a ticket (or two, depending on some friends’ desire to go.)

The first thing that stands out about a Greg Dulli show is the audience is highly female. My casual estimate had it at an even split, or maybe 55/45 dudes to ladies. There aren’t a lot of male artists working the indie circuit (whatever “indie” means to us now) that have anything approaching 50/50. It’s also a mid-30s age range, which makes sense because those were the teenagers of the Afghan Whigs days that remained loyal to anything Dulli has done.

Why? It’s because of the rep the singer/songwriter has perpetuated since the Whigs’ first album: carnally adventurous, blue-eyed soul man, besotted with drink, voice ravaged by cigarettes.*  It’s the sort of gutter romantic act that makes men wish they were him and women want to take him home. The second part of it is that all of Dulli’s back catalog has appealed to the hip shake and swivel as much as the Afghan Whigs did to the head bang on their first three albums. When your prime influence is R&B, the concept of groove survives no matter how much fuzz and noise you put the guitars through.

Dulli’s genius move in the late 80s-early 90s was merging post-punk guitar with soul swing and lover-man bravado. In an underground rock scene where all the influences were comically white, the Whigs and everything Dulli did stood out, particularly because the pathos he put to tape had more to do with sex and Catholic guilt than suburban anomie. The remarkable thing is that he’s in his mid-40s now and it still works. Playing to a packed Doug Fir Lounge, Dulli proved that you can play a lech yet grow old gracefully.**

(*N.B. Dulli didn’t look intoxicated for the show; a fellow attendee who may be a bit too obsessed with the man says she read or heard that he doesn’t smoke any more, he may have had throat polyps somewhere along the line. Given his vocal style, I wouldn’t be surprised were it true.

**How much of the lecherousness, sexuality, and gutter view of his songs is a stage act/homage and how much of it is really him has always been up for debate.)

The opener, Shawn Smith, is a familiar face who is probably more familiar than you’d think upon first blush. Dulli acolytes know he’s guested on backing vocals on both Whigs & Twilight Singers records for years, but Smith is a Seattle native — which means he is in or has been in bands with some of the grunge era’s big names. If you remember Brad’s “The Day Brings”, that’s him. He sat and played by himself for a half hour, closing with an epic, stark version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” that had the crowd eating out of his hand. Smith’s voice doesn’t match what you’d think he’d look like: long hair, top hat, flannel shirt, burly — and out comes this distinctive, reedy voice.

This was the last night of the Dulli solo tour; it’s been booked as such, but it’s basically 3/5 of the apparently current line-up of the Twilight Singers: guitarist Dave Rosser and cellist/violinist Rick Nelson joined Dulli. It was an acoustic, quieter show — as far as Dulli is capable of being quiet. It kicked off with a few songs from the upcoming Dynamite Steps and went through several Singers songs before Dulli welcomed Afghan Whigs bass player John Curley on stage — which received cheers like you wouldn’t believe.

The quartet tore through Whigs material: “Let Me Lie To You,” “66”, “Step Into The Light”, “If I Were Going”, “What Jail Is Like”, “Summer’s Kiss” and added a loud rumble through the Singers’ “Forty Dollars” for good measure before Curley departed, Dulli addressing him as “my favorite bass player” and a hug between the two.

"That’s a hard act to top," Dulli said, "but you know I’m gonna try." There’s something quietly intense about the whole proceeding even though this wasn’t really a showman type of gig — Dulli radiates showmanship even when he isn’t really putting on the rock act, shifting between his Gibson acoustic guitar and the same Yamaha keyboard Smith used. What is clear is that he and his core trio for this tour had a very solid interplay; Rosser provided the backing vocals while playing delicate lines or taking Rick McCollum’s old Whigs melodies and spinning them in another direction with crisp fingerpicking; Nelson’s cello wasn’t as high in the mix as I’d have liked, but when he took up the violin, he played counterpart to Dulli’s vocals, which lie somewhere between soulful and strained at their best (and are part and parcel of the man.)

If he’d played for another hour, everyone would have stayed. We had to be content with buying a live recording of the New Orleans show at the merch hole in the back. Before I’d walked in the door to the Doug Fir four hours earlier, I watched him walk out the front for whatever reason, saying “excuse me” and “Hi” to people as he went through those of us waiting in the cold for the doors to open. “Hey, excited to see you play, man,” I said as he walked past. “Excited to be seen,” he said, and judging by his performance, he meant it.

Greg Dulli live was pretty much all I could ask for.

More later. For now, let’s just say there was a special guest on this final show of the tour that added an unexpected bit of fun to the whole thing.

The Twilight Singers, “Candy Cane Crawl”

Two hours to go.

The Twilight Singers, “40 Dollars”

Mangy dog without a collar.
Buy me love for forty dollars.
I got love for sale.
Come on, get some before it gets stale again.

Four days until I see Greg Dulli live for the first time ever.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT GREG DULLI IS COMING TO PORTLAND.

The Twilight Singers are playing my favorite venue in town (Doug Fir) on a Saturday night (November 20th), meaning I can go.

I’m just waiting on my buddy to say if he wants in before I buy tickets.

excitedexcitedexcitedexcitedexcited….

Greg Dulli To Head Out On First Solo Tour Ever

maura:

This just in from the inbox:

“For the first time in his career, Greg Dulli will embark on a solo tour which will see him make stops in five different countries for a total of 29 shows…. Dulli will lead his band through a wide selection of songs encompassing his entire career.  ‘An Evening With Greg Dulli’ will be a limited run tour with only fourteen US shows along with stops in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Belgium.”

Also, new Twilight Singers album on Sub Pop next year.

Tour dates after the jump…

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AW FUCK BALLS. Not even a Seattle date to tempt me. THIS IS WHY I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy