Seemingly, every decades-old American indie band of decent cult status is back and playing the favourites. Ohio’s Afghan Whigs, who first thrived alongside but not strictly as part of the grunge scene, already did that two years ago.
That might have been that, but bandleader Greg Dulli still has more to say. Now they’re a going concern again, albeit with only Dulli and bassist John Curley as original members, with a fine new album that burnishes their legacy.
In the flesh, the singer looked nothing like a has-been going through the motions. His howl of dysfunction still burned, in troubled songs where every woman is called “Baby” and they probably don’t return the compliment. “This ain’t about regret/It’s when I tell the truth,” he sang on Debonair, one of a raft of disturbingly honest tales.
With three guitarists on stage, the belt-and-braces approach meant that songs couldn’t help but make an impact. The band were often fearsomely loud but did more than bludgeon, reworking When We Two Parted into a drawn-out dream.
Though they’re probably too long in the tooth to get an invitation onto Radio 1’s Live Lounge, their way with a cover version was winning too, with Fleetwood Mac, Bobby Womack and The Beatles getting a look in.
“It’s getting better all the time,” sang Dulli, and he was right.