The Gutter Twins – The Roxy 3/21/08

For those of you who don’t know, The Gutter Twins is the brainchild of Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, members of and the Afghan Whigs and Screaming Trees, respectively. According to AllMusic.com the music of The Gutter Twins is “visceral,” “brooding,” and “intense”. I would call it bluesy rock with a pop sensibility. Then again, I went in blind.

It’s true. I knew practically nothing about The Gutter Twins before attending their show at The Roxy on March 21st. Rather than try to fake my way through the role of an expert, I though it better to go in without expectations. So I perched myself at the edge of the balcony to take in the show.
The Gutter Twins took the stage just before 10PM in what appeared to be matching burgundy shirts on the main players and backing band. A trick of the lighting or well planned wardrobe? I can’t say for sure. But even if it was a conscious decision, I still get the feeling that they were more interested in playing the part of “musician” than “rock star”. They skipped the witty stage banter in favor of playing their music, even knocking out six songs in the first 20 minutes, when Dulli made his move from guitar to piano. In that first six songs, there was barely even a pause for applause.
Their sound is quasi-commercial, but the blues vibe from vocalist Lanegan gave it a heart and an air of credibility and makes up for the pop aesthetic, as far as the cred police are concerned. Not that there were many in the audience.
Rather than the herds of faceless hipsters that seem to over run most any show in Atlanta, no matter the genre or venue, this crowd was more “regular” folk that scensters playing a roll. Yes, there were a few pairs of leggings, oversized bags, out of place metal dudes, Goths, and the ubiquitous photographer from local paper The Atlanta Journal Constitution, but the crowd was probably exemplified by the gentlemen behind me, “Since I’ve hit 30, I have to sit down at shows.”
The crowd had the same idea as the band; no hype, just music. This backfired as Dulli exclaimed, “Get those hands up, Atlanta!” trying to get the crowd to do the ever popular overhead clap. The crowd only half-heartedly joined in. I did see a few people rocking out, but it was probably those randomly scattered and out of place metal dudes.
Dulli did get a reaction when he made reference to tearing down the place “‘Cause it’s gonna be condos tomorrow.” It’s been rumored for quite sometime that The Roxy would be torn down for yet another of the condos that are overtaking the city. It was especially suspicious that the well-known collection of rock memorabilia was missing from the walls and the venue schedule was empty. It should be said, though, officially The Roxy is closed for renovations.
Art rockers, Great Northern opened the show with an intriguing flavor. They were much more mellow and airy than The Gutter Twins. They did have a fondness for adding the jangle of tambourine and jingle bells to their otherwise minimal songs. They did endear them to me thanks to their guitarist’s Gretch guitar. It’s hard not to love the sound of a hollow body Gretch.
Following their set, music I could only describe as “sleepy time music” was piped in while the crew set up and the audience discussed the merits of their collection of Willie Nelson bootlegs and rarities (no, I’m NOT kidding).

When the Gutter Twins took the stage the edgy sound was a welcomed wake up from the gentler sound of Great Northern and the between band interlude. The bluesy brand of rock ‘n’ roll delivered a great music and an awesome show. Check them out when they make it to your town.

The Gutter Twins: website | myspace
Great Northern: website | myspace

*Molly

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