Posted March 14, 2007

Twilight Singers, Metro Theatre, Sydney
January 13, 2007

Sometimes it aint just a coincidence

“Everything’s gonna be alright…”
Every now and then, the world just opens up and your little personal part of it becomes exactly what you hope it would be.  I spent the afternoon drinking red wine and listening to The Twilight Singers’ albums.  As did a few friends of mine I met at the Metro.
This tale needs some backfill.  Just before Xmas ’05 I split from a wonderful woman.  We stayed friends, she gave me a record voucher for my birthday in June and I bought ‘Powder Burns’, the Twilight Singers’ latest album with it.  Early December, I realised I loved her and wanted her in my life and ‘Powder Burns’ has soundtracked the last 6/7 weeks with perfect clarity.  Greg Dulli is a motherfucking genius.  Everyone I know who likes the Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers absolutely fucking loves ‘em.  Through his songwriting, he has this rare ability to connect.  It aint everyone’s connection, but it sure is mine and most everyone I know who is worth knowing.
We shot over to the Sir John Young for a round of reasonably priced drinks and rocked back into the Metro.  I saw a few hardcore Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singer fanatic mates and a few other mates who were there mainly for Mark Lanegan (what the fuckin’ fuck??).  It wasn’t much more than half capacity, the way I like it best.  Plenty of room to dance.
It’s what you need with a band like this.  They’ve spent most of ’06 touring Europe and the US, 26 gigs a month and had a few weeks off before flying down here.  Perfect, really.  All that touring to get really tight and slick, and a break to refresh, recharge and Dulli’s troopers strolled onstage and kicked off with “I’m Ready.”
“the sun don't shine 'round here no more
and I know it won't be long
I hope I see you out tonight
and I hope we get it on

'cuz I’m ready, I’m ready
to love somebody”

Part of his genius is the way he takes a line like “I’m ready to love somebody” and invests it with such a depth of feeling, matched to great songwriting and a unique take on rhythm and melody, so it transcends the obvious surface sense and becomes something rare and beautiful.
Didn’t hurt that the band were fucking HOT!  Another aspect of everything Dulli’s done is his ability to take a bit of everything, soul, funk, punk, rock and roll, rock and soul, and put it all together to make something unique and totally true.  Yet he aint just a one man band with a backing group, you could tell that this was a band in the full sense of it.  McIntyre’s a great drummer, Klein a great guitarist, Ford a great bassplayer and Dulli’s smart enough to know that no band is better than it’s weakest link.
Well, so I guess.  
But what I do know for sure is that this was one of the alltime greatest shows I’ve ever caught.  I can’t really comment on this song or that song, fuck, I don’t even know what kinda guitar Klein was playing, ‘cos I had my eyes closed most all of the show, just dancing and shaking and digging this magnificent, beautiful music being played by a band who were, indivually and groupwise, sharp, skilled and having fun.
It comes down to a rare quality or two.  Great songwriting, for one, and I mean truly great songs.  It aint all that hard to string together four or five barre chords for an effective rockin’ sound (like The Hives, f’rinstance) but there is so much more that can be done.  A mate noticed that Dulli’s hand hardly moved on the fretboard.  That’s cos it didn’t have to.  He’s been playing and writing for 20 years now, and has gone a long way past the ol’ root-fifth-octave chord shape.  The more you do, the more you learn.  
Another mate, one of the best guitarists I’ve ever known, once told me he’d spent one year learning lead breaks and 25 years learning rhythm.  The Twilight Singers didn’t have to go for a big fat rockin’ sound, they had something else going on.  Between two guitars, a bass guitar, a piano, they generated a sound that was harmonically enormous.  There was rhythm, melody, harmony, a melding of several separate but complementary pieces that made for something far greater than the sum of the parts.
In that strictly musical sense, Twilight Singers were close to being the best band I’ve ever caught – and I only qualify that assertation because I can’t remember every band I’ve ever caught.  They were just about the fucking best in every other sense too – the way they phrased things, f’rinstance, the band sliding around each other, slippery, deep and kinda wicked.   A sound and feeling that hits your ears and your guts and fills you, to your fingers and toes and the ends of your hair and shakes up everything you think you know and feel and reflects it all back at you in a fractured shining light.
They played music of deep personal resonance and fantastic swinging energy.  As good as it gets, hey?  And then there were the babes…
I don’t dance all that much at gigs.  A band has to be really fucking hotshit to get my feet moving, my arms waving, ‘cos I’ve seen far too much to be easily impressed, but I was dancing like a motherfucker.
At least I guess I was, cos after the show I got talking to this gorgeous blonde woman in tight shorts who complimented me on “cutting the rug” and asked me if I wanted to go up to Spectrum with her and her two cute friends for a drink.  Well, yes, of course!
There were a lot of blokes at this show, and most of the women seemed to be there with their menfolk.  So I got to leave with what seemed like all of the single women there, and they were all cute as! (Thanx for making a great night, J, J & F)

We walked up to Spectrum and had a drink, yet I had another woman in mind.  She who gave me the voucher, she who I dream of every time I listen to Powder Burns.  She who got home from work about 2am and found me passed out on her verandah couch.  “An offering of male flesh”, so she put it.  I woke up next to her on Sunday morn.  As perfect a night as I could imagine.

Fountain and Fairfax