THE audience at King Tut’s on Wednesday night was overwhelmingly male, the T-shirts behind the merch stall bore the cockily self-deprecating legend “Who the f*** is Greg Dulli?”, and the man commanding our attention onstage delivered his music with an attitude that was somewhere between lovelorn and angry.
Greg Dulli | Rating: **** | King Tut’s, Glasgow
This was Greg Dulli himself, Ohio-raised founder and head of such cult bands as Afghan Wigs, the Twilight Singers and the Gutter Twins.
His set was tender but uncompromising, a combination which seemed to mirror Dulli himself. Even at full audience density, King Tut’s bears a certain intimacy which perfectly suits the relationship he seems to share with his fans; at one point someone in the front row, clearly oblivious to the “no flash photography” signs, did just that – to which Dulli called them out and, spurred on by the chanting of the crowd, ending up wearing the guy’s scarf for the next song, Forty Dollars, and its gritty-voiced appropriation of Beatles harmonies.
There was ragged beauty shot through the set, from the strained yearning of Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair to the mournful acoustic delicacy of Step Into the Light and the stripped-back anthemics of Summer’s Kiss and Number Nine. Dulli shifted between guitar and piano, and the sound of a lone violin rose and fell throughout, pin-sharp alongside his weather-beaten voice.
The evidence of his audience suggests that Dulli’s music finds its most comfortable home with male listeners, but it’s his vulnerability and willingness to get in touch with his own femininity that makes it ring true.