A lazy afternoon in the gleaming sun feeds slow and soft into the dragging journey back to the stupid fucking palace. Scotty and Lewie are locked in place for archers of loaf having been stunned into sweet submission by thee oh sees. Old buddy Charlie, on a a day off from his totally sweet day job, meets up and lets us know that tommy Stinson is here. My jaw dutifully and duly drops. In fact he's just over there. I look. Yep. I watch him watch archers of loaf for 40 minutes which is a strange slice of voyeurism partnered with a beautiful and ramshackle soundtrack. I think of what I'll say to him. I'm going to go and shake his hand and stick to the 30 second rule... I don't do it. I leave the room where we find Canadian will (he has a band called shirtlifter which is all you need to know) absolutely fuckhammered to high heaven. He proves tremendous company particularly when hugging bemused strangers and telling a dude in a Russian circles tee that the band are 'fucking shiiiiiiiiiieeet'. A moment of wonder.  I see tommy again, walk behind him into the hall and stand right next to him. We make eye contact and I know I won't be able to say anything. The replacements are too big of a deal to me to be able to cope with any potential disappointment... Sad sad sad. Yuck 'play' and it's their usual disgusting mix of grunge rock tribute act bullshit, third hand riffs poorly played and half hearted melodies stolen from the great and good of alt rock. They make me absolutely fucking sick to my stomach. 'you should be ashamed of yourselves' I scream at them in a quiet moment. We leave the hall, shaking our heads as they do a shit impression of a band that means something.  I've been wanting to see the make up for a long time. I've always been interested in the furious gospel fire of nation of Ulysses and their ilk and I'm expecting a fireball set from the Washington polito-poets. Sadly they trot out a cabaret act of posturing, impact-free slop-songs and fluffed poetry. It's embarrassing and we leave the room disappointed.  Afghan Whigs are one of the best live bands of the last thirty years. I feel I can vouch for that with a level of confidence. Their shows of the mid to late 90s were intense, sometimes horribly drunken, often wonderfully indulgent epic slabs of soulful, perverted fuck-grunge. Greg dulli crossing elvis with bukowski was always a joy to behold. And oh Jesus did they blow off the roofs with that hefty, jarring sound. 12 years on I've rarely been as excited to see a band play. Especially in a reunion situation- more potential for disappointment than usual.  The stage is decked in red velvet, the crowd bays, the afghan Whigs play. They play 'I'm her slave' they play '66' they play 'faded' they play 'summers kiss' they play the outro from purple rain. I have rarely lost my shit in such a prolonged and heartfelt manner. The room is loud as hell, throats crack with screamed lyrics, dulli's voice absolutely fucking soars. If anything, shorn of the drugs and booze and fucking around, they are better than they were first time around. Lean, lythe, absolutely explosive, as straight damn sexy as ever and that black hard heart in dulli's chest still beats like a fucking metronome. When they play 'miles iz dead' im done and gone once more - existing somewhere between the mid 90s and the present day, a beautiful if temporary limbo. I suddenly remember every time I saw them, every situation, every nuance, where I was and who I was with every time I heard a new record from them.  Bands sure can fill yr life.  Xm