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November 12, 1998 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ne M;cngan aiy - inursay, roemoer za u - iiaf

'Original Avengers
return on video

Afghan Whigs slide into sophistication

By Adlin RodN
Daily Arts Writer
A pair of co-ed government
agents, strictly on plutonic terms,
solve strange and mysterious crimes
together on an internationally famous
and popular television show. Does
this premise sound familiar to you?
Though "Mulder and Scully" begs to
be dropped off the tip of the tongue,
the answer comes from thirty years
earlier in the form of "The Avengers."
A&E recently released the complete
'67 season - the first season oroad-
* casted in America - as "The
Original Avengers "no doubt to avoid
association with the recent box office
turkey "The Avengers" movie based
on this series.
Though most Americans know the
Avengers only through its reputation
and the summer disaster flick, the
show was a successful series in
Europe and Asia.
Watching the show again after
Oquite a lapse of time, one finds that
the video still possesses all the wit

By Lucas Rakocija
For the Daily
The Afghan Whigs' stellar show on
Tuesday night at Clutch Cargos proved
that, in the hipper circles of alternative
rock, head bobbing to the live tunes of
your favorite group is the only truly
flattering response an artist can expect,
of his/her audience.
Led by raspy crooner Greg Dulli, the
Whigs have crafted a repertoire of
moody and self-reflexive albums that
are tinged with noir-like lyrical explo-
rations of themes such as guilt, plea-
sure, cynicism, self-torment and, of
course, sex - a topic Dulli flirts with
nearly as much as he did with the
women attending Tuesday night's show.
Entering with a theatrical instrumen-

'67 Video

and charm.
The show also
eerily parallels
many of the
enduring qual-
ities that
makes "The
X-files" a hit

L o n g
before Mulder
and Scully
o took us on
with eccentric
characters and
strange plots,
Steed and Mrs.Peel were dealing with
v strange secret societies and seeming-
ly paranormal villains. One main dis-
tinction between the two is that in the
original Avengers, there were no
mysterious endings at the end of each
show and what seemed paranormal
was usually explained scientifically.
Another differentiating feature was
the fact that "The Avengers" was a
light hearted and "tongue in cheek"
show that never took itself too seri-
ously. .
The strange "X-Files" parallels
play out further watching "The
Avengers" series. Each episode
begins with a cryptic beginning

Courtesy of BBC.
"The Avengers" are back, on vkdeo.
sequence that perks your appetite for
an explanation and the heroes handle
the bad guys with plenty of witty
lines and Angela Lansbury-worthy
mystery solving skills.
Again, similar to "The X-Files,'
"The Avengers" was also a character-
driven show. The chemistry between
Steed and Mrs. Peel was magnetic
and the supporting cast in each
episode was never short of an assort-
ment of oddballs and eccentric char-
acters. It is a quality that keeps the
show enduring to this day.
Relative to other '60s action
shows, there were very few strong
independent women characters por-
trayed on TV While most of the
Avenger's contemporaries were con-
tent with the generic recurring "lady
in distress" characters, Mrs. Peel was
a gutsy and fearless leading character
who was the equal of her counterpart,
John Steed.
Even in the face of danger, Mrs.
Peel never lost her cool or confidence.
In the episode titled, "From Venus
With Love," a captive and bound Mrs.
Peel is mortally threatened and asked
by villains if, "she is now feeling
cooperative." To this, Mrs. Peel
replied, " Actually, I feel positively
stubborn now!" She was well ahead
of the women's liberation movement
that was to come a decade later.
"The Original Avengers" video
collection is a terrific introduction
for the uninitiated and is a well
packaged set for the converted.
Those who had the misfortune of
watching the recent movie adapta-
tion of the show should take the time
to check out the original series.

* p
Clutch Cargos
Nov. 10, 1998
gle, "Somethin'
immediately fed

tal as a backing
score, Dulli
gracefully took
center stage,
dressed in black,
complete with
dark shades and a
hat, which looked
like it may have
been purchased at
Johnny Cash's
yard sale.
When the band
launched into the
new record's
catchy first sin-
Hot," the audience
off of the group's

well-received and inspired many to
scream the lyrics back toward the stage.
While the dreary "When We Two
Parted" was vamped up by an accentu-
ated array of back-up singers and the
dream-like accompaniment of the
band's keyboardist, its poignant deliv-
ery was heightened by the inclusion of
lyrics from Lauryn Hill's latest record
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" -
no doubt an album that Dulli probably
studies as a reference for his very own
foray into diva-dom.
As Tuesday night's show progressed,
so did the number of drinks that Dulli
consumed. While this might seem like a
hindrance to many other bands, it only
provided for a more intimate experience
for the audience. The slightly intoxicated
Dulli became more flirtatious with the
crowd, inviting it into the experience
with stories from the past year as well as
insights into the inspirations for his
"Rehabilitation;' he declared to a
somewhat confused audience, "you
guys are probably too young to know
you're fucked up yet. That's OK. I'll
take you there" With that introduction
made clear, the band then launched into
a rousing rendition of "Fountain and
Fairfax" - a song rumored to be about
an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting
Dulli once attended in Los Angeles.
While most contemporary lead
singers in the post-"Nevermind" era of
rock shy away from the spotlight, the
Whigs' Dulli seems to relish the atten-
tion - almost feasting off of the vibe he
gets from his audience. What distin-
guishes him from the rest of his alterna-
tive peers is his intriguing, natural stage
presence. Whether delving into the
funked-up hip-shaker, "Going to Town,"
or the epic grandeur of the murky
"Faded," the man simply knows how to

Greg Duli led the Afghan Whigs in an amazing performance at Clutch Cargo's.

vibrant energy and danced throughout
much of the band's two and a half hour
set - one that drifted through material
from all of its five full-length albums as
well a handful of surprising covers.
"Debonair," the single that intro-
duced many to the band back when
1993's gorgeously morose
"Gentlemen" was first released, was

keep his audience entertained. "We
could go on all night," Dulli teased with
a sly grin, knowing full well his alcohol-
induced, Morrison-esque swagger was
making his audience want more.
Which is not to say that Dulli is the
only member of the band. Rick
McCollum, the Whigs' lead guitarist,
proved that he has grown to become
quite a master at the slide guitar. Bassist
John Curley, the stoic Silent Bob look-
alike, seemed to blend perfectly with
new drummer Michael Horrigan -
igniting the core that is indeed the "soul"
of the bluesy New Orleans-influenced
sound heard on the band's new disc.
Even the group's back-up singer, Susan
Marshall, stepped up to the plate and
delivered an impressive rendition of
Dulli's intensely personal "My Curse."

Just as Dulli's alcohol induction
seemed to hint that the band's set would
never end, the group chose to end their
two encores with the hauntingly beauti-
ful "The Vampire Lanois," and the full-
tilt rock of the band's best song, "Miles
Iz Dead" - which left the died-hard
fans screaming along to the night's most
appropriate chorus, "Don't forget the
Perhaps the most musically capable
band in the land, the Afghan Whigs
have achieved, with an inspired live per-
formance, something that is rare in them
pretentious world of late-'90s alternate
tive music - the group lets us known
that, beneath the samples and gimm
micky flavor of contemporary artists aC
we know it, there are those who stile
want to rock and aren't afraid to do so.


_ _ ..

0 ,


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