UPDATED August 8: The Afghan Whigs play Bumbershoot on Saturday, August 30 at 10 p.m.
Nothing sparks more mixed emotions then learning that your own personal favorite band is hitting the road for their big reunion tour. Initially, you’re thrilled. You never thought you’d get to see them again, and now they’re back. But then, oops, there goes gravity. Those massive nights were long, long ago. Just like you, the band is decades older. Rock music is by the young and for the young, and there’s nothing more pathetic than a nostalgia show. Your favorite band’s reunion tour is likely just a Stonesy money grab. There’s no way to recapture the magic, and you just know you’re going to walk out feeling like stupid fat old sucker. But you never know, right? Springsteen kept it going through at least The Rising tour. And you’ve heard good things about the Neutral Milk Hotel shows.
So it’s with hope and trepidation that Nada co-founders Matt and Gabe will head to the Showbox on April 15 to see The Afghan Whigs. If NadaMucho.com ever had a favorite band, the Whigs were it. In 1996, we would have punched anyone who refused to acknowledge that the Whigs were the best band alive. Or at least rolled our eyes behind their back. The Whigs didn’t sound like any other band. Sex, booze, drugs and self-loathing set to punky soul. Or R&B tinged inde rock. Or whatever. It was like the Whigs were designed by a focus group to hit our sweet spot. Congregation, Gentleman, and Black Love soundtracked our house parties. And the live shows were high holidays.
We told and retold the stories. The time Dulli convinced even the jaded Philly crowd to shake its ass. The time Dulli made out with his creepy little buddy from Howlin’ Maggie during the “Cocksucker Blues” encore. The time the Prince medley seemed like it was never going to end. We said that Gentlemen and 1965 were two of the best album of the 90s. We said that Dulli said all the stuff you weren’t supposed to say. How “she wants love, but we still want to fuck.” How “we’re really slobbering now.” How “you should unlock the cabinet, cause we’ll take whatever you got.” How “we should have seen this shit coming down the hall.”
We told and retold the stories. We referenced the Whigs in articles about Wilco. In interviews with Neko Case. In situations appropriate, inappropriate, and totally unrelated. We said our wives could suck Dulli’s cock if the opportunity arose, and they said we could too. You could even say we “dragged it out so long sometimes, we started to make each other sick.”
Now it is 2014, and the Whigs are playing the Showbox just like the last time we saw them back in ’98 during the 1965 tour. And, yeah, Rick McCollum apparently is not in shape to tour. And “Algiers”, the single from the forthcoming album, doesn’t exactly rock. And but still. I guess we’ll see.
(The Afghan Whigs play the Showbox in Seattle on April 15.)