On May 23, The Afghan Whigs reunion officially kicked off with a sold-out show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. Leading up to the concert, the band released a new song — a great cover of an old obscure Soul song called “See and Don’t See” by Marie Queenie Lyons — as a free download through theafghanwhigs.com, then performed the tune on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (The band also performed a raucous version of “I’m Her Slave,” the first full song on the band’s 1992 album, Congregation, which has been posted as a web exclusive on Fallon’s official site.)
According to reports, the Bowery show was classic Whigs, with frontman Greg Dulli providing his trademark banter and verbal heckler beat-downs and the band sounding lean and mean after the decade-plus break. (The biggest difference? Apparently Dulli has quit smoking, so there were none of the traditional mid-show smoke breaks.) The group performed songs from each of its albums except 1990’s national debut for Sub Pop, Up In It (and, less surprisingly, nothing from the 1988 local release Big Top Halloween). Along with the Queenie cover, the Whigs also performed a version of modern Soul crooner Frank Ocean’s “Lovecrimes” and “quoted” Prince’s “Purple Rain” at the end of powerhouse ballad “Faded.”
For a full review of the May 23 concert by contributor Sean Rhiney (as well as footage from Fallon), visit the music blog at citybeat.com.
In various interviews, Dulli has said that he is leaving all doors open in terms of future Whigs activity. Spin reported that the band recorded four cover songs and some new tunes, so more new studio material being released seems almost certain. And Cincinnati area Whigs fans feeling a little neglected by the lack of a date in the band’s original hometown just need to be patient. Bassist John Curley (the only Whig still living in Cincy) told CityBeat contributor Steven Rosen (reporting for The Enquirer) that even he feels “it would be shocking for there to be new Afghan Whigs dates and not play in Cincinnati.” Stay tuned …
The Whigs are currently in the midst of their European tour, which includes numerous large outdoor festival appearances (and a couple of gigs in Tel Aviv). The band’s next U.S. date is Aug. 3 in Chicago as part of the big Lollapalooza festival.
New Local Releases News
• One of Cincinnati’s best modern Punk outfits, The Dopamines, celebrate the release of Vices, their first album since 2010’s Expect the Worst, with a show Friday at Northside’s Mayday. Showtime is 10 p.m. and tickets are $7 through ticketfly.com or facebook.com/maydaynorthside (they’ll cost you $9 at the door if any are left). The new album finds the blazing Punk Pop trio returning to the It’s Alive label, home of the Dopamines’ 2008 debut (Worst came out on Paper + Plastick, the label founded by Fueled By Ramen co-founder and Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie Fiorello). Joining The Dopamines for Friday’s release show are Nashville’s Pujol, Evansville’s Be My Doppelganger and excellent local Punk crew Vacation. (thedopamines.net)
• Self-described “Stoner/Grunge/Rock” group The Desert Gun (fans of Queens of the Stone Age will dig it) is set to unveil its debut full-length, an eponymous affair that gets the album release party treatment Friday at The Drinkery in Over-the-Rhine. The quartet — preparing for a short tour later this summer — is joined by Dayton’s Astro Fang and strong, up-and-coming local Psych Rock band Lemon Sky. Showtime Friday is 9 p.m. and admission is $5. Those attending will receive a free compilation CD featuring a sampling of songs from all three of the acts on the bill, while they last. (thedesertgun.com)
• Mad Anthony’s celebration in honor of its new, self-titled release (see interview, page 25) Saturday at downtown’s Mainstay features the kind of local support bill that just might leave the club in ruins afterwards. Joining The Sundresses and The Lions Rampant in support of M.A. is Rock & Roll juggernaut Banderas. Sadly, Banderas — one of the best Cincy Rock crews of the last decade — has announced that Saturday’s performance will be its last. (duneboogie.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]