US - Ohio - Full Moon 31 - 04/30/99|
De Oosterpoort, Groningen, March 20th + Soundgarden, Dortmund, April 4th 1999
When the Whigs take to the stage at the Ooosterpoort, it's just the core
four Whigs - Greg Dulli, Rick McCollum, John Curley and new drummer Michael
Horrigan. And without even saying hello they launch right into Retarded,
the first song off their very first LP, released almost ten years ago. It's
loud, fast and quite spectacular. It's nothing against the full-on, revelatory
rock 'n' soul revue that goes on it's way as soon as the three backup singers
and a keyboardist apparently nicked from Prince's backing band join the Whigs
for the rest of the show.
Once described as "sex muzik", this music blends rock 'n' roll in it's
rawest form with sweet soul music so perfectly, it almost hurts. And then there
are the songs, that prove once and for all that Dulli might not be a great
singer (nor guitarist, for that matter) but he surely knows how to write songs.
Songs about fucked-up lifes, about the demons in yourself, about luuuuv, baby!
The Whigs play everything from What Jail Is Like to Uptown Again
and Be Sweet. Hell, in Dortmund they even do White Trash Party,
from Up In It, just "because it is Easter Sunday", as Dulli informed
the crowd. He also wins some new friends with his statement concerning the
less than enthusiastic festival crowd in Dortmund: "Okay, so I'm in a fucking
library". Haha, very funny. But by the time their rendition of the Temptations'
Papa Was A Rolling Stone literally explodes to segue right into
Somethin' Hot you give up on wondering if any other band could actually
steal its inspiration from so many different sources without sounding like
any of them. Cause the Whigs have their own distinctive sound and even the
heartbreakingly beautiful gospel rendition of My Curse, sung by backing
vocalist Susan Marshall, fits in perfectly.
By the time they hit home with Fountain And Fairfax (about ten times
better - and faster! - than the recorded version) and Faded you know
that this equivalent of a musical orgasm is bound to reach a lot more people
soon. People who don't care that Dulli and crew have been signed to Sup Pop
for a while, got big during the Grunge boom and sounded a little bit like
Nirvana. After the last note of the final encore Omerta you know
exactly why Rick McCollum calls this "a rebirth" for the Whigs. Quite simply
because it is.
Copyright © 1999 Carsten Wohlfeld