Into the gutter

The Gutter Twins, that is Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, finally arrived in Helsinki last week to present their first release, Saturnalia. They hit the stage in Tavastia almost two years after Dulli’s band, The Twilight Singers, did it, also with Lanegan as a special guest sitting in several songs. At that time, the band had a fantastic time in Finland. They did some studio recording at the Seawolf Studios in Suomenlinna for the EP A Stich in Time and their show in Tavastia was epic, with Greg Dulli having a real good time, drinking a lot of wine and partying as anyone else in a full house.

{mosimage}Two years later, the story is repeated with a different title. The band is similar to the Twilight Singers line-up of 2006. But now they are The Gutter Twins and they have a new record to support. Therefore it was to be expected that the show’s setlist would relay heavily on Saturnalia and so it did. It also included some covers and songs from their former bands.

Both frontmen took their expected role. As usual, not saying a word, Lanegan stood still holding the mic stand, just letting his deep voice sing. Dulli played guitar, piano and talked to the audience. He showed his emotions while Lanegan hid them behind the lights.

The show started like the album, with the guitar notes of The Stations building up the song and the mood for the whole show. A mood that drifts from the film-like atmosphere decorated with electronic loops to sharp and aggressive guitars, underlined by Lanegan's voice.

Apart of songs from Saturnalia, the Twins played a set of interesting covers, including José González’s Down the Line and Flow Like a River, a heartfelt tribute to Eleven’s keyboard player Natasha Shneider, who recently passed away. They also played Primal Scream’s Deep Hit of Morning Sun, a cover that will be included in the band’s next ep Adorata, to be released soon. Dulli and Lanegan bring these covers to their territory and the songs flow seamlessly in the set.

One of the highlights of the show was Screaming Tree’s rare single Change Has Come. The song was very well received by the audience. It came to show how much Lanegan’s old band is missed.

On paper it looks like it was a very good concert. It was, but it was not excellent, especially not compared to the Twilight Singers show in 2006, which Greg Dulli himself also remembered as a great night. This time, Dulli did not seem to be very much into the show. The former Afghan Whigs’ leader did not seem to be having such a good time. Perhaps it was the effect of the jet lag and the beginning of the European leg of the tour (Helsinki was the first stop). Or perhaps it was the smoke-free venue. Or the lack of drinks on stage. To the big surprise of keyboardist / guitar player Jeff Klein, Dulli told the band to leave the stage one song earlier that it was planned in the written setlist, not playing the planned set closer Front Street.

However, a 25-minute encore followed and it was excellent, although it was almost cut short when someone from the audience threw a plastic glass to the stage that almost hit Dulli. As it can be seen in youtube, after a touching rendition of Shadow of the Season, Dulli said that the band would not played any longer until the person who threw the glass would apologize. Either that or the audience should sing Finland’s national anthem. That is what happened in the end. It was surreal.

The encore included two songs from Lanegan’s latest solo album Bubblegum that took the show one step up. Number Nine, the ballad that perfectly blends Lanegan and Dulli’s voices, was a beautiful end for the night. It was a very high point in the show and a real pity that it did not continue. The moment felt interrupted. But what a great moment.