I originally wrote this piece for Lollapalooza.com as a part of their Artist Discovery series. The Afghan Whigs are playing Lolla this weekend in Chicago, if you are going, you cannot miss their set.
I call Cincinnati home. And because of that, for years I’ve been a champion of all things Ohio music. There are so many amazing bands that have come from our state, and plenty from right here in Cincinnati. In recent years, bands like Bad Veins, Pomegranates, and Walk The Moon have risen from the Queen City to the ears of a wider audience, but if those artists are being honest, they were all influenced by The Afghan Whigs.
Back in the late 1980’s, Cincinnati wasn’t exactly a rock and roll hotbed. Sure, bands would come through our town from time to time and there were some excellent local acts doing their thing as well, but there really wasn’t anyone who you could brag about when you went out of town.
That’s why when The Afghan Whigs released Big Top Halloween in 1988 and caught the ears of the up and coming indie label Sub Pop Records, things started to change. The then trio became the first non-Northwestern U.S. band to record for Sub Pop a couple years later when they released Up In It and suddenly, people wanted to know more about Cincinnati. A few years later, The Whigs signed with Elektra and went from indie up and comers to MTV regulars. It’s really difficult to put into words what these guys did for our city and our place on the map when it came to music.
That’s why it was a pretty big deal when at the end of last year, more than a decade after they announced their split, The Afghan Whigs announced they were reuniting, making many Christmas dreams come true. With original members, Greg Dulli, Rick McCollum, and John Curley on board, and the additions of Dave Rosser on guitar and Cully Symington on drums, the band would be playing limited shows in 2012, and Lollapalooza just happened to be one of them.
You would think the guys need some time to knock the rust off, but if the early shows are any indication, it’s like riding a bike for our Cincinnati heroes. So if you are looking to re-discover a band from your past, or are hoping to discover an old gem you’ve only heard stories about, The Afghan Whigs are a must see for this year’s Lollapalooza.