Posted in music | pictures | tour dates on May 19, 2011

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Twilight Singers

That so many of the characters in Greg Dulli's songs are met by misfortune (often self-inflicted) and find themselves in questionable circumstances, it was fitting that he and his Twilight Singers rolled into New York City on a Friday the 13th. Though anyone expecting something to go wrong during their feverish 21-song set were left disappointed.

"It's my birthday... three days later," Dulli joked at one point, but the entire 90-minute set seemed like a party. Nobody was having more fun than Dulli, who with this year's Dynamite Steps has released as many records as a Twilight Singer/solo artist as he did fronting the Afghan Whigs.

Early on, before a punishing version of "Bonnie Brae" (made popular by its inclusion in the television show "Rescue Me"), he accepted flowers from a fan in the front row, stepped to the mic and said, "You sure know how to make a man feel like Neil Diamond."

His voice was expectedly and delightfully off-key and his band sounded great, especially drummer Greg Wieczorek, "the best drummer I've ever seen," said Dulli during his band introductions. Erik Kang of openers Margot & the Nuclear So and So's (more on them in a second) came out to play pedal steel and violin later in the set.

As thunderstorms, porn theaters and other ominous images appeared on the screen behind them, set highlights included "Teenage Wristband", the cover of Martin Topley-Bird's "Too Tough To Die" and "On the Corner", "The Beginning of the End" and "Get Lucky" all from Dynamite Steps.

"Ladies and gentleman, The Killer," Dulli proclaimed, as a photo of that song's protagonist, Jerry Lee Lewis, and 13-year-old wife (and first cousin once removed) Myra Gale Brown loomed on the screen. It was the first song of a three-song encore and "The Killer" grooved and wailed better than anything else they played that night. Dulli closed with a ramped up version of "Esta Noche" ("This is the motherfucking finish line") that ended in a refrain of Carl Carlton's "Everlasting Love."

Margot and the Nukes' opening slot for the Twilight Singers made a lot of sense considering that bandleader Richard Edwards' songs traffic in a milder, Dulli-esque world of bruised and mis-handled relationships, but armed with Rachel's review of a show from last fall, I approached their set with trepidation. Then something happened when I got to the venue - I didn't care about any of that stuff. Bands shed and add members all the time and you either stick with them or you don't and I was just excited to see a band that I've adored since The Dust of Retreat. Sure, like a lot of people I'm nostalgic for the old version of Margot and (having seen them four times previous) missed seeing some familiar faces who were germane to a pretty great live show. But the version that recorded last year's Buzzard needed to be taken for the band it is now.

Ultimately, where the earlier Margot was more a chamber pop collective - this retooled lineup is a solid, straightforward rock band. "If you want to stay/Shut up. If you want to go/Get lost," Edwards snarled on Margot's set opener, the excellent "Claws Off" And then later in the song, "get lost" becomes "get fucked." But there are some lovely melodies in the earlier material, which was showcased on the stripped down version of "Broadripple Is Burning" complete with audience members singing along. There's still plenty of common ground to be found in their live show for fans of both incarnations.

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The Twilight Singers and Margot are still on tour. A list of all upcoming TS dates, more pictures and the setlist from the Webster Hall show, and a video of the band playing Letterman in April too, below...

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margot and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

Margo and the Nuclear So So's

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The Twilight Singers - On The Corner - on Letterman

The Twilight Singers --- 2011 Tour Dates
May 21 Wonder Ballroom Portland OR
May 22 Showbox Seattle WA
May 24 The Fillmore San Francisco CA
May 25 The Music Box Los Angeles CA
May 27 Belly Up San Diego CA
May 28 The Clubhouse Phoenix AZ
May 30 Granada Theatre Dallas TX
May 31 The Parish Austin TX
June 1 Warehouse Live Studio Houston TX
June 3 Tipitina's New Orleans LA
June 25 Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury UK

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Comments (26)

AFGHAN WHIGS need to get back together...one of the best shows I ever saw..Seen Twilight Singers too and they are ok but WHIGS is where it is at!

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:12 AM

I'm terrible with song names, but it looks like no Whigs songs, and light on the covers? Good on him that he has maintained a fan base that actually cares about his current output, but personally, I'm glad I slipped it.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:37 AM

Not gonna happen.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:38 AM

was there a poster?

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:40 AM

11:37, correct. He played lots of Whigs songs during his show at Bowery last year.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:40 AM

where is margot in those pictures?!

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 11:44 AM

This show was very disappointing. Dulli was nowhere near the energy level or fun he has been on previous tours.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 12:08 PM

Sad to say, but Dulli is done. Gutter Twins and Whigs albums still hold up. The video of "On The Corner" is almost a parody of an average Twilight Singers tune. Glad I skipped this too.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 12:13 PM

12:08, you're wrong.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 12:13 PM

Wow, how disappointing. This was the first show of Dulli's I've seen that felt tired. I hope he gets his energy back.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 1:51 PM

all of the naysayers that posted are so incorrect it's unbelievable. these folks must have been at a different show. this is a top notch band at the peak of their prowess. i saw them in '06 and this was certainly better. boo hoo no whigs tunes...um, they aren't the whigs, get used to it and go listen to the new album again.

Posted by byl cote | May 19, 2011 2:58 PM

2:58 is on point. This is the best Twilight Singers line-up yet.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 3:15 PM

I've seen Twilight Singers three times and this was easily the best they've been. Anyone that has been paying attention to the past two TS tours knows he wasn't playing any Whigs songs. Stop cryin.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 3:25 PM

fantastic show. dulli's still got it. he's predictable and has a formula, but if you dig it you'll always be satisfied.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 3:25 PM

TRAIN is playing a private, invite-only show tmrw night in NYC

newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tix/2390884790.html

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 3:42 PM

TRAIN?!?!?! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 3:55 PM


My iPhone vid of the Killer for those who were or were not at the show.

http://vimeo.com/23877301

Posted by br | May 19, 2011 4:00 PM

Dulli wasn't drinking during this show. I liked him better when he was drinking during shows

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 4:24 PM

Naysayers be trippin'. That show was phenomenal and Dulli is a force to be reckoned with, as always.

If I had a nickel for every time somebody whined about wanting more Afghan Whigs songs at Twilight Singers show, or called for a reunion, I'd be rich enough to attend every show on the tour. Quit bitching; it's borderline disrespectful and it ain't gonna happen. Never mind that the TS are just as good of a band and just as ferocious a live act. What if Dulli is sick of people disregarding his current work in favor of romanticizing his past albums/performances? He is STILL on point, and the only thing that has really changed is the style of songwriting.

Don't get me wrong -- the Afghan Whigs were an incredible band. But can we please, as a fanbase, move on? If the TS aren't your thing, fine. But enough of the petulant nostalgia.

Posted by Marisa | May 19, 2011 4:32 PM

Wow. I did not see the NYC show, but I would tend to believe the latter comments over the former. I've seen two other shows on the tour and Dulli KILLED. Those of you who want Whigs songs should understand why he doesn't perform them.

Posted by Anonymous | May 19, 2011 6:15 PM

i totally agree with marisa. whigs were great.. will always be great.. but twilight singers are a different special thing. stop downplaying it because of memories past. it is somewhat insulting - AW and TS are two totally different bands (TS is a different band in itself from album to album!)get over it and move forward. twilight singers are kick ass and greg dulli is a man - the man, no longer a twenty something year old boy - his new songs are great. either you're a fan of the band or you're not. deal with it and stop bitching. the show in nyc was RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING and FUN!! dulli had so much swagger and energy, to even pretend otherwise is a straight up lie. whatever.. get over the nostalgia.(ps- saw ts almost every single time they played ny and they have yet to disappoint!) NEXT..

Posted by anonymous | May 19, 2011 6:37 PM

Got tickets 3 months ago in hopes I would hear Greg do killer versions of Bonnie Brae OR The Killer OR Teenage Wristband etc. Instead got great versions of all of them and more... new songs are derivative of the old ones but still not bad. And Esta Noche as the last song? Priceless.

Posted by david z | May 19, 2011 6:51 PM

Petulant Nostalgia is a good band name.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2011 1:32 PM

Also--Greg Dulli is a real man, something that a lot of the boys on here wouldn't understand.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2011 1:56 PM

Great article and pictures AND an awesome show. Though I had to leave during On the Corner due to my wife having a little too much of a good time, the show was better than the Philly show I saw a few days earlier. NYC brings out the best in Greg and it showed. The band was hyped to play!!! Love Greg!!!

Posted by Mike H | May 20, 2011 4:29 PM

I have been a fan for over 20 yrs of Greg Dulli's music and been to countless shows. The Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins or Twilight Singers whatever the band, he is the ultimate frontman. The show was so great at Webster Hall I am flying to New Orleans to see The Twilight Singers last show this tour. They rocked!

Posted by jen | May 25, 2011 3:35 PM

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