"Turn that thing off," hollered Gutter Twins singer/guitarist Greg Dulli, pointing to a giant video screen behind his band's setup at Reggie's Music Hall last night in Chicago. "This isn't a stadium." And thankfully so: A band fronted by an ex-Afghan Whig (Dulli) and an ex-Screaming Tree (Lanegan) -- two of the '90s most sardonic purveyors of hard luck indie rock -- is best experienced in a dimly lit, grungy bar with as few frills as possible, and that's exactly what Reggie's provided.
Playing the Dell Summer Rocks afterparty, produced in association with SPIN, just a short cab ride from the Lollapalooza site in Grant Park, the Gutter Twins dove right into the bluesy dirges off Saturnalia, their 2007 debut, like the particularly Whigs-y "God's Children," soaked in typically sunken images of love, religion, and demise, and "Idle Hands," perhaps the most cunning synthesis of the duo's vocal strengths -- Lanegan's Jet City growl and Dulli's bratty howl -- and their previous bands' sonic signatures, borrowing Screaming Trees-style throb for the verses and Afghan Whigs' savvy for writing hooky, R&B-fueled choruses.
Earlier, our new best friends Does It Offend You, Yeah? were the good sports when their gear failed to show up in Chicago. Using a cobbled together DJ setup that involved a DVD player, a CD-R, a piece of gum, a paper clip, and a 9-volt battery, Morgan Yeah and company kept the throngs engaged pre-Gutter Twins, although it would have been a treat to see them live. Let's just hope their gear makes it in time for their Lollapalooza debut!
Check out photos from last night on page 2
Gutter Twins's Mark Lanegan/ Phot by Eric Nowels
Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan of the Gutter Twins/ Photo by Eric Nowels
Gutter Twins/ Photo by Eric Nowels
Does It Offend You, Yeah? / Photo by Eric Nowels