There wasn’t much in the way of conversation. There wasn’t even, to the dismay of some in the crowd, an encore. Instead, for their first Philadelphia gig since a TLA show in the spring of 1999, The Afghan Whigs delivered a solid, broad-reaching, impressively-performed set of popular favorites and deep cuts. There was no fuss, no muss, the band just cut straight to the rock. An opening vamp on Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” launched into an explosive performance of “Fountain and Fairfax,” a tale of desperation and addiction from the Whigs’ 1993 opus Gentlemen. The set dipped back to the early LP Congregation for “I’m Her Slave,” hit the Whigs’ 1998 swan song 1965 for “Uptown Again,” and worked in a handful of R&B and soul covers that have become the band’s trademark. A moving rendition of “When We Two Parted” led into “Over My Dead Body” by Drake; its recently released studio renditions of “Lovecrimes” by Frank Ocean and “See And Don’t See” by Marie Queenie Lyons were were stand-alone performances, the latter punctuated by charismatic frontman Greg Dulli strutting to the front of the stage with his microphone, sitting on the edge of the riser, singing to fans in the front row.
Along with Dulli, drummer Cully Symington proved the most dynamic stage presence, slamming his sticks and bopping in his drum stool to the driving tempos of “My Enemy,” and “Debonair,” grooving to “Crazy,” rocking with Dulli to the breakdowns. Founding members John Curley on bass and Rick McCollum on guitar were more stoic personas in the shadows, making their contributions to the proceedings more through volume and precision. The 80-minute performance wrapped up with a closing trifecta from the band’s underrated 1996 outing Black Love; the torrent of “Bulletproof” led into the poppy stratospheres of “Summer’s Kiss” and the cinematic high drama of “Faded.” Even if the band left many in the room wanting more – including the tech crew, who waited to bring up house lights until roadies stared offloading gear and it was certain there would be no return from the Whigs – wanting more is perhaps the most apt place to leave things until next time. Check out a photo gallery of the show above, and see the setlist below.
Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley) / Fountain and Fairfax
I’m Her Slave
What Jail Is Like
When We Two Parted / Over My Dead Body (Drake)
See And Don’t See (Marie Queenie Lyons)
Love Crimes (Frank Ocean)
Going To Town
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