Live review: The Afghan Whigs

Dulli and co. make a magnificent return, blending the old with the new and an awul lot of wit.

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There are few frontman who can match Greg Dulli for an innate sense of cool.

A physically imposing presence with an alt.Elvis attitude and a grubby wit (“Remember to dance, not mosh,” he drawls to one pit pig as things get raucous. ”You’re not going to get any pussy dancing that way.”), his return with the latest incarnation of one of the 90s’ more soulful alternative rock bands is a very welcome one.

With a mix of music from last year’s Do The Beast (their first new album in 16 years) and their unimpeachable back catalogue, a moody start quickly builds into an all-encompassing, beautiful racket, a molten Somethin’ Hot kicking things into gear in a manner that washes away all traces of the years in the wilderness in one glorious blast.

The new line-up is magnificent, their percussive punches in It Kills presented in militaristic unison. Multi-instrumentalist Rick G Nelson, meanwhile, adds an almost Bad Seeds lushness to proceedings as he layers on the keyboards, violin and cello. Even a cover of The Police’s hideous Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic can’t break the spell, and as Dulli whips up one last storm with Bobby Womack’s sublime Across 110th St, building the soul classic into pure sonic fireworks, it’s clear that, still, no one can beat them for a thrilling touch of class.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.