Anyone who knows their music, knows that The Twilight Singers are not for everyone. “Eh, who?” asked my friends when I informed them about my plans for the Tuesday night. “Where the hell do you find these bands?” If you know where to look, you will always find something special. I discovered the Twilight Singers through my endless admiration of Mark Lanegan and instantly fell in love with their dark and magnetic lyrical themes. So when the news arrived that the band will be making a stop in Helsinki during their European tour, I knew I had to be there.
The legendary Tavastia club was fairly full, which was a sufficient consolation for me and a sign that the Twilight Singers are still known up in the north. Some people probably found the band the same way I did and some are probably fans of the Afghan Whigs (Greg Dulli’s former band). It doesn’t matter what road brought them here, what matters is that they are probably aware of the fact that the alternative scene had many great bands whose name isn’t Nirvana.
“He doesn’t look cool,” said our photographer when Greg Dulli walked out on stage, only to change her mind about one second later. This instant the band burst into “Last Night in Town” and it became obvious that if you don’t think Greg Dulli is cool, you wouldn’t know cool even if it came and banged a guitar over your head. On the other hand, it’s matter of opinion, depending on what experiences one finds the most appealing: visual or sonic. As exciting as it is to watch big bands with all their stage gimmickry, I have immense respect for musicians who don’t need to compensate that way for any possible shortcomings simply for the reason of not having anything to compensate for. It “only” takes inimitable musical talent to go out there, accompanied by the band, without breaking instruments, burning bibles, etc. and make the audience lose their breath.
Before I digress even further, all of the things mentioned above came up in my mind as I was watching Greg Dulli switch from his stylish black Gibson guitar to keyboards and back, from song to song, each of them felt like an intimate experience that you just accidentally happened to share with a club full of people. Another familiar face on stage was guitarist Dave Rosser who accompanied Mark Lanegan on his 2010 acoustic European tour and now did a great job on backing vocals as well.
Surprisingly, the setlist included just a small part of the band’s February 2011 release, Dynamite Steps; it comprised bits and pieces of the Singers’ catalogue throughout the years. Nobody seemed to complain about this; instead the audience was cheering, dancing, and singing along, sometimes even louder than Greg. The songs kept on flowing one into another; entrancing the listeners and making them lose the sense of time. After “On the Corner” the band said goodbye and left the stage. Tavastia’s audience disagreed with such an abrupt ending and demanded more, clapping their hands endlessly. And they got more when the Singers returned for three more songs.
The Twilight Singers are not for everyone. Their music requires a special set of mind, the one that has visited the darkest corners of the human soul and remained scarred forever.
1. Last Night in Town
2. Fat City (Slight Return)
4. The Beginning of the End
5. Forty Dollars
6. She Was Stolen
7. Don’t Call (Desire cover)
8. Too Tough to Die (Martina Topley-Bird cover)
10. Annie Mae
11. Bonnie Brae
12. Martin Eden
13. Teenage Wristband
14. Candy Cane Crawl
15. Never Seen No Devil
16. On the Corner
17. The Killer
19. Black is the Colour (cover)
Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist | Ed: Amy Wiseman