gutter twins: debut

Bowery Ballroom, NYC


So there was no way this project was going to be half-assed, or unprofessional, or in any way not worthy of your time, or somehow not together. And I have seen Dulli in every incarnation now (although, thankfully, missed some of the truly fucked up ones) and while he is someone who has earned carte blanche in my house, I can still be critical (although the remarkable fact is that I have never had to be).

But this, my friends, was outstanding.

I don’t ever think Greg isn’t working hard, or trying his best, but sometimes I think that it is – not easy, but not difficult for him to do what he does. He shows up, he works hard, and he’s got discipline. The old adage about 50% inspiration and 50% perspiration is true more often than not.

My odd thought about tonight was that this show was just – grown up. I haven’t seen the lyrics and haven’t lived with the songs enough, but this is not about Are you here to make par-tay or even the themes of loss and, well, loss that have hung over acres of Twilight Singers material. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a collaboration between Dulli and Lanegan and it’s not rainbows and puppies and roses, and it’s plenty fuckin dark. But it was just at another level, and maybe because Mark’s ass is also on that line (and not just Greg’s), but I have never seen the band this whip-smart and sharp and just totally together, like Greg can put up one hand and conduct the band and they turn on a dime.

It was outstanding, even beyond the gimme that Dulli’s earned and Lanegan deserves. The voices in perfect shape, Lanegan more than ever that cask of deep rich whiskey you just want to float in. Greg moving from frontman to sideman to piano to guitar and back again, inhabiting the songs like he was conducting them with his body.

We got the record, and then a break, and: “Would you like to hear something you know?” The assessment from a colleague in the audience pre-show was: a good mix, and that it most certainly was. I’d like to see a little more redemption and a lot more hip-shaking at the end, though; the NY audience was well-behaved and attentive and gave the new songs the space they deserved, actually acting the part of: we are here to see this and if we get anything else that would be cool, yo.

Greg only broke a smile a few times and I would have liked to have seen more visible signs that he was enjoying himself. But when he did, you know that grin, and you enjoy it more knowing that he is too.

Only regret: too close at Bowery, which means the mix was mud to me. Less than a month to Webster Hall, where, again, the mix will be mud because I cannot stand to be anywhere that is not close. The price we pay.