Fresh off the release of their debut album Saturnalia a week
ago, the Gutter Twins have hit the road to try out their material for the
public. Following sold-out warm-up gigs in New York and San Francisco, the
Gutter Twins? latest stop was a Sunday night performance for an at-capacity
crowd at the High Noon Saloon.
The twins whom the band?s name refers to are grunge-era
survivors Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli. Accompanied by a four-piece band, the
duo performed a set so blistering and fiery ? literally, given the duo?s
prolific chain-smoking abilities ? that those in attendance were quick to
forget the winter weather lingering outside.
Taking the stage dressed like they just came from a funeral,
the Gutter Twins wasted no time as they plowed through the first three tracks
on Saturnalia. The album?s first song, ?The Stations,? sets the tone for the
whole album, and the band?s no-nonsense approach to their music was evident
from the beginning as they went from song to song like a well-oiled machine,
without so much as a breath in between.
Though Lanegan and Dulli rose to prominence with their
respective bands in the ?90s, this is not the first time the pair has worked
together. The duo originally came together as the Twilight Singers, a side
project started by Greg Dulli, whose band members make up the current Gutter
Twins? touring troupe. Not surprisingly, their set at the High Noon was
sprinkled with Twilight Singers songs, the first of which ? ?Live With Me? ?
was played only four songs into the show.
The evening continued with some of Saturnalia?s strongest
offerings, including ?Seven Stories Underground,? ?Idle Hands? and ?Circle The
Fringes.? The stark contrast between Dulli and Lanegan presented itself as the
night wore on as Dulli, who also played guitar, was seen hopping about the
stage while Lanegan, dressed in black from head to toe, remained motionless and
clutched the mic-stand for dear life.
Fully exploiting Madison?s smoking ban loophole for
?theatrical performances,? nearly everyone on stage chain-smoked as the Gutter
Twins finished out their first set with a mix of songs including Saturnalia?s
?I Was In Love With You? and ?Each To Each,? along with a few Twilight Singers
numbers. Abandoning his guitar for a keyboard, Dulli thanked the Madison crowd
for attending on such a cold night before launching into the Twilight Singers?
tune ?Down The Line.?
As the Gutter Twins exited the stage for their encore break,
the crowd grew louder and louder as they awaited the band?s return. Granting
the audience?s wish, the six musicians, all wielding fresh cigarettes, returned
once more to the stage. Kicking off the encore was Dulli, who gave a sullen but
heartfelt rendition of ?Amazing Grace.?
Though their set list had seven songs left for their encore,
for reasons unknown the Gutter Twins decided to cut the show short and perform
only four. Though this was by far the show?s biggest downside, the
disappointment was tempered by the fact that one of the four songs was an
incredibly well-received performance of ?Methamphetamine Blues,? from Lanegan?s
critically acclaimed 2004 solo album Bubblegum.
As the final notes of ?Methamphetamine Blues? came to an
end, the band went into their final song of the evening, the last track off the
Twilight Singer?s album Blackberry Belle, titled ?Number Nine.?
While the Gutter Twins shine on Saturnalia, their
presentation of old material coupled with the new gave a greater insight into
who these men are musically. Although Dulli and Lanegan are arguably two of the
most underrated singers in the music industry, their vocal harmonies reached
soaring levels unheard of for most and became one of the crowning achievements
of the evening. Following such a strong performance, everyone in attendance was
certain that whatever step the Gutter Twins take next, it is sure to be a