The Twilight Singers show Hell how it’s done

Live Review: The Twilight Singers at The Masquerade in Atlanta, 5/5/11

Greg Dulli is the man. The man, that is, in charge of his band, his sound, and his life. That was not the case a few short years ago. After enjoying success with his grungy Afghan Whigs in the nineties, he joined the ranks of the lost with an alcohol and cocaine binge that is still talked about. But he has come through it wiser, more focused, and maybe a tad bit darker. The new Twilight Singers album, Dynamite Steps, is a fine set of songs that has brought Dulli once again to the forefront of respected musicians. And of course, there’s the voice. The gruff, sometimes scream of a voice exhibits emotion that few others only dream of putting on a record.

The first single from Dynamite Steps is “On The Corner,” a wonderful amalgam of a song that sounds like all the ingredients from his tumultuous life have been mixed in. It is, however, an excellent track which showcases his terrific band, his guitar skills, and again, that voice.

He also is a perfectionist. From his attire (all black), to his directions to the band, then to the audience (“Gotta turn those flashes off. Blinding me!”). And after that, not another camera flashed. Stories of Dulli jumping off stage to beat down some big mouth have been circulated quite frequently. He could be compared with Morrissey, who has the same personality, wears similar clothing, and sings about his inner demons, only with a British accent. He is also a fan of the covers. On at least four occasions, he gave the fans a mash up. When he began singing the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” then transitioned into Twilight’s “Love” from 2000, it worked wonderfully. Most people do not realize that Dulli provided the singing voice of John Lennon in the Hamburg-era Beatles movie Backbeat. Love Affair’s 1968 hit “Everlasting Love” was mixed with “Esta Noche,” and done quite well. During “The Killing,” Dulli sang a few bars of Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon.” Incidentally, Ian McCulloch and the Bunnymen were playing upstairs at the Masquerade (“Heaven”) this very evening. Dulli and the boys were content to play the smaller, more aptly-named downstairs club (“Hell”). And what would any rock show be without a snippet of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

The evening was filled with a perfect balance of Twilight Singers and Afghan Whigs tunes. The fan base was strong and Dulli was on top of his game in all aspects. He started off the show by saying, “Good evening, Hell,” and it only got better from that point. Other song highlights included “Gunshots,” “Teenage Wristband,” “Last Night In Town,” and “Get Lucky.”

Opening the show were Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s touring in support of their lastest album Buzzard. The Indianapolis band provided a great rock intro to the night and it was apparent that their fans were in the house.

For more information and to catch this hot tour, go to www.thetwilightsingers.com.

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