Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm Too Old for This. (Not That it Ever Stops Me)

I feel tremendously old today. It seems I can no longer pull off back to back nights of genius. I'm sore, tired, and simply burnt out. Would I do it again? Damn straight I would. Tuesday I experienced the spandexed debauchery of Lucha Vavoom as shown in the pictures below. I tell you there's nothing like nearly being flattened by a large man in spandex. Last night was the sweat and debauchery you can only experience at a Twilight Singers show. I can say that last night they were at their absolute best. But before I get to the main act let me talk a little about the opening acts: Jeff Klein and Afterhours. Greg Dulli had a hand in both of their latest albums. This definitely gave the whole night a kind of Dulli with his extended family vibe.
Jeff Klein is a young singer songwriter. I know there are probably some Ryan Adams comparisons that he probably hates, but I can see how those comparisons could be made. I will say that Klein's world is darker almost noir like than Adams'. Actually it's the same world Dulli's music lives in. Last night his performance was just him and his guitar. Most of his set involved him creating the percussion, rhythm guitar, and strings with his guitar. While the looping and the songs were great, there was more impact to the performance when the Twilight Singers came out backed him up on a song. Still a solid performance.

Then all hell broke loose when the Afterhours came out. Afterhours are an Italian band that Dulli met years ago when touring Europe. First of all they flat out rocked. Second they performed with so much energy and honest joy it was impossible for the crowd to not partake. These guys clearly enjoyed just playing rock and roll. It was an absolutely great set. I'd pay just to see them in concert.

Now let me talk about the Twilight Swingers. Living in LA I basically got to see the first and last concert of their US tour. Yes, the first one was really just a "practice" show, but it was the first time they performed the new songs in front of an audience. Last night was the last stop of their US tour which meant they could pull out all the stops. They pulled out every last one.

One of the bad things about living in LA is that the concert audiences often suck. They just stand there and watch with absolutely no investment in the show. Last night was one of the rare time the audience got involved, expect for the two wet blankets right in front of me. I actually credit Afterhours for doing what an opening band should. Clearly the Twilight Singers were feeding off this. I have to give it up for the audience since they usually just stare and clap.

Another bonus is that they played at the Avalon. Usually, I've seen the Twilight Singers perform at small clubs like Spaceland. The intimacy of those shows is great, but performance wise the band's sound is too big for such venues. The Avalon was the perfect venue and it was packed.

The cast was the same as the last concert I went too, except that the Afterhours lead singer played keys this time. The guitarist Dave Rosser was even better this time around. Maybe it was because he had room to move or simply having a full tour with the band and the the material. Bobby MacIntyre proved once again he's one of the best drummers currently in rock. Scott Ford deserves a lot of credit that I don't think he gets from the fans. Scott Ford is so steady and solid he almost disappears. Dulli was of course Dulli. Dulli's finally kicked the drugs and it shows on the stage. Yes, the always enjoyable rambling is kept short and sweet but this is the best I've seen and heard him.

It's hard to pick out the highlights. An obvious one was when they dusted off the Whig's classic Fountain and Fairfax. The crowd erupted. Fountain and Fairfax is a corner in LA. It's one of the first places I went when I moved out here. When he brought out Joseph Arthur to join him in singing "There's Been an Accident" was cool too. Arthur has such a cool voice that compliments Dulli's so well. Dulli did his soul man strut during Candy Cane Crawl and then did a crowd pleasing rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On." They did a great cover of Gnarl's Barkley's "Crazy." "Forty Dollars" closing out the set was fantastic. For the encore they brought out Mark Lanegan to close it out with a few songs. It added to over 2 hours of Twilight Singers playing their hearts and souls out. With Klein and Afterhours that's four hours of brilliant music.

I can tell now I haven't done this show justice here. I've said it before I'll say it again. Do what you can to see these guys when they come back around. Even if you aren't familiar with their music, I promise you will enjoy yourself.

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