The last week of May turned out to be a major '90s flashback trip for me. It began by spending several hours listening to singles from 1993 for our latest ’90 Top 50 list and then The Afghan Whigs rolled into town for the fourth show of their reunion tour which kicked off in New York just a few days before. And then came the weekend with live streaming from Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival where The Afghan Whigs were once again among the protagonists, playing along several other legends of '90s indie rock including Mudhoney, Mazzy Star and Archers Of Loaf. Without a doubt, the '90s are back in a big way and The Afghan Whigs are leading the charge!
Although I’m not particularly fond of reunions and reliving the “good old days”, I think that if a band feels that it can still do justice to its old material and there is an audience out there willing to pay good money to see that, then they should definitely go ahead and give it one more try. And after seeing last Tuesday what The Afghan Whigs are still capable of doing, I must say that in their case it would have been criminal neglect not to reform. After all with such a stellar back catalog which boasts not just one or two but four of the greatest rock albums of the '90s, I think it would be very difficult to make a botch job of this reunion.
16 of the 19 tracks that Greg Dulli, John Curley and Rick McCollum presented along with Dave Rosser, Rick Nelson and Cully Symington who complete the 2012 version of The Afghan Whigs, came from those four albums released between 1992 and 1998, with "Black Love" and "Gentlemen" rightly having the lion’s share and "Congregation" along with "1965" contributing a few of their key tracks.
The three non-album tracks that completed the stunning 95-minute set were all soul and r’n’b covers - not surprising given Dulli’s love for these genres and the influence they have had on his work. The covers included The Supreme’s hit "Come See About Me", from the "Uptown Avondale" EP, as well as two new entries in the band’s repertoire, Marie "Queenie" Lyons’ "See And Don't See" (available as a free download here) and Frank Ocean’s "Love Crimes". These two covers along with "Fountain and Fairfax" and "Miles Iz Dead" made up the encore of a truly breathtaking performance from a band that proved that it can still perform with the same fire and passion as it did in its early '90s heyday. And given that Dulli’s songwriting still remains strong as proven by his recent work with The Twilight Singers and the one-off collaboration with Lanegan as The Gutter Twins, I think that they should seriously consider taking this reunion to the next level: into the recording studio to add another chapter to a most remarkable story that deserves much wider recognition and success than what it got the first time around.
Here’s the night’s complete set list - all killer no filler:
1. Crime Scene, Part One
2. I'm Her Slave
3. Uptown Again
4. What Jail Is Like
5. Blame, Etc.
6. When We Two Parted/Dead Body
8. Come See About Me (Supremes cover)
10. My Enemy
14. Summer's Kiss
16. See And Don't See (Marie "Queenie" Lyons cover)
17. Love Crimes (Frank Ocean cover)
18. Fountain and Fairfax
19. Miles Iz Ded / Into the Floor
The Afghan Whigs - My Enemy, live @ Vox (Athens, May 29, 2012)
Support came from one of the best Greek rock bands of the '90s, the also recently reunited Bokomolech, who have already taken that next step into the recording studio for the album "Mass Vulture". They successfully mixed their old classics with the new material adding even one or two brand new, so far unreleased tracks, proving that once you get the ball rolling again there is no stopping to the creative flow.
|Bokomolech, live @ Vox|