If the very definition of cool is not caring whether or not you look cool, then Greg Dulli is Steve McQueen.
The Twilight Singers‘ frontman and mastermind (probably still best known for his ’90s alt-rock band Afghan Whigs but also recognizable to devotees as one half of the Gutter Twins, his tag-team effort with former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan) spent the entirety of his band’s 90 minute set at New York City’s Webster Hall oozing a casualness that only the true badasses are able to pull off. Dressed all in black, he ambled around the stage, switching from guitar to keyboard and back again, all the while leading his tight band through blasts of rugged R&B and squalling guitar rock.
The songs from the group’s latest effort Dynamite Steps are lovingly constructed in recorded form, but live they took on a whole new dimension. “Last Night in Town” picked up an extra level of menace, while the melody of “The Beginning of the End” really blossomed with the assistance of the top-shelf sound system at the venue. And the set-closing “On the Corner” (which contains some of the most savage lyrics in Dulli’s back catalog) bled menace.
Dulli returned for a four song encore, which included a rumble through the Jerry Lee Lewis tribute “The Killer” and a sinewy “Gunshots.” By the time the final notes of “Esta Noche” blared from Dulli’s guitar, he walked away just as nonchalantly as he entered, carrying the confidence that he had left it all on the stage with no regrets. The crowd cheered rapturously, taking a little bit of borrowed cool into the balmy New York streets.