Live Reviews - Reviews

The Afghan Whigs @ The Academy, Dublin


Ohio’s Afghan Whigs descend upon The Academy for their first show since November 2014. “Shaking the dust off,” frontman Greg Dulli facetiously states, with a self-confidence that seems his very essence. Aside from a few vocal pitching issues – admittedly rather befitting of the music’s obstreperous character – the set is masterfully delivered by the imposing sextet.

From the first, the mix is impeccable. The soul-tinged alt-rock Americans have arrived with full sensory assault in mind. Whigs’ original John Curley leads an unrelenting rhythm section over which the guitar, keys and string parts compose ardently the musical parchment for Dulli’s self-studious poetics. Overhead, a neatly woven lightshow provides implacable companionship to the on-stage clamour.

Unsurprisingly, the main event is a dealing from last year’s Do to the Beast, a proficient and hard-hitting consolidation of tested styles and new ideas. Although, not to leave older fans disappointed, back catalogue numbers such as ‘When We Two Parted’ and 1965’s ‘John the Baptist’ are performed with the same poignant and unceasing intensity. The group express all the qualities of a band in their prime and here’s a show that flows impressively from start to finish.

Dulli, at 49-years old, clearly has as much as ever to avow and shows no sign of slowing. The Afghan Whigs appear in Dublin not as an apparition of their previous selves but with a fierce and forceful purpose that could bid longevity to this particular rock band reformation. Calum McGeown