Throughout his career, from his early days fronting the peerless Afghan Whigs to his second act leading the Twilight Singers and onto his later collaborations with Mark Lanegan, Greg Dulli has always seemed like a man apart.
While the Whigs were lumped into indie-rock and alternative acts like Archers of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr., or Mudhoney, the band had a certain sleaze and swagger about them that recalled more primal (and more well-known) acts like Guns N’ Roses.
Dulli’s lyrics and id-filled howl were a sharp contrast to the de-sexualized indie rock world of the mid-90s, yet the Whigs (brought up on the venerable Sub Pop label) were never truly considered for bigger or better things (not they sought that trajectory.) In a more just world, an Afghan Whigs reunion tour (which did happen in 2012, and was by all accounts, highly successful), would have landed them top billing at Coachella, and not Axl and his gang of Roses.
While being a headliner at a major festival is probably beyond Dulli’s reach, he still has deep catalog of amazing songs, and plenty of people still want to see him perform. This year, he’s embarked on “An Evening With” tour, where he’s playing a stripped-down set at smaller, more intimate venues (he’s already performed in a church and a synagogue.)
Although playing in a church seems almost antithetical to Dulli’s existence (this is a guy who dubbed himself one-half of the “Gutter Twins”), and intimate has never been a word to describe the music of the Afghan Whigs, the tour has been a hit, with a string of sold-out shows to prove that. That run of packed houses will include the Independent on Friday night, where Dulli will play once again to a sold-out audience.
His setlist will span his entire oeuvre, ranging from his work with the Whigs and including his underrated solo efforts. Although he’s toned down the self-loathing ball of rage (probably a good thing) from his earlier recordings, Dulli is still a captivating presence on stage, and his show at the Independent will be a must-see.
Greg Dulli, Derrick Brown
March 25, 2016
9pm, $29.50 (21+)