Thursday, September 21, 2017

The 'Fountain and Fairfax' of youth: I love The Afghan Whigs

I feel like I need to preface this post with a caveat about how the world is a dumpster fire and I feel so guilty about my life being pretty decent when Puerto Rico is barely standing, Mexico City is a rubble, and we're fighting for healthcare again. But, maybe, that's exactly why I am writing this post. Because we're not meant to absorb all these sorrows at once.

Throw money at causes. Call your senators. Try to live decently. And value small gifts.


I was so fortunate to see my favorite band LIVE last Saturday night in Brooklyn. Little history lesson: When I was 17 years old, I fell in love with The Afghan Whigs. It was all just a fluke really. In 1994, I saw the leader singer Greg Dulli perform with The Backbeat Band (a mishmash of alterna-gods who performed Beatles covers for the Backbeat movie) on MTV, and I was instantly smitten. First, he looked like no other rock star at the time. He had short, dark hair and was wearing a black dress shirt. No grunge. No long hair. No mosh pit. And when he sang, I paid attention. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

In 1996, my Green Day phase long over, I bought The Afghan Whigs's Black Love from the BMG catalog. You remember those? My mom, who thought she was just getting a good deal, is the reason I had such a bitchin music collection as a teenager.  

Black Love was dark and gritty and sexy. It felt adult. No quippy tunes about jacking off or weed. Just raw, seedy emotion. And I loved it.

The last time I saw The Afghan Whigs was 1999. I was a sophomore in college and they were playing at a small, rundown club five minutes from my house. The band dissolved in 2001. Greg Dulli fronted a new endeavor (The Twilight Singers -- also amazing), and I saw them a few times. But then I got married, had kids, and I could never make another show. I was always nursing a baby, and driving to the city on a Wednesday night was never feasible, not without disrupting my entire family so I could see my band. Until last Saturday.

I bought tickets, grabbed my best friend, and hauled ass to Brooklyn. And it was the most incredible night of my life.

My husband, for all his good qualities, is not a fan of their music. He doesn't understand the community, the intense feeling of singing your voice raw with other Gen X-ers, dancing as if you're demonically possessed. Being in a crowd with fans who are jumping, dying over the music. Who are screaming because we heard the first few chords of "Fountain and Fairfax." No one can make me feel 17 again like The Afghan Whigs. It's the greatest gift. Yeah, yeah I have children whom I adore, but they don't make me feel young, that's for sure.

Who's your most favorite band? When did you fall in love with them?

I'm a dork. 

Greg Dulli does not permit flash photography so the photo is crappy. But there he is!

I love this man.


Brenda St John Brown said...

This looks so awesome! So glad you were able to get to this show. I don't have a favorite band, really, but probably the best concert I ever saw was The Who, WAAAY back in the day or Eric Clapton in the pouring rain at an outdoor show, also waaay back when.

Carrie Beckort said...

My favorite is by far P!nk. I've always liked her music, but I'm not sure when I fell in love with it. I think I appreciate her more with each passing year. I've never seen her in concert, but I will. Some day. And I'll spring for the expensive seats.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I'm so happy for you! Anything or anyone who can make you feel seventeen again is pretty amazing! I remember feeling housebound by small children for many years. A night out was like a mini vacation only better! I don't have a favorite band but I love country music. Take a night out whenever possible, keeps you sane.

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