The Afghan Whigs may never be as heralded as many of their early-‘90s Sub Pop labelmates, which is a shame because, in many ways, their influence could be said to extend nearly as far. With their lush R&B treatment of rock and roll, The Afghan Whigs paved the way for (and have been cited as influences of) bands such as The National, Interpol, The Hold Steady and—some would argue—The Black Keys. While the sounds of the preceding bands cannot be solely attributed to The Afghan Whigs (one could cite a heavy Rolling Stones influence in all of those bands—including The Afghan Whigs), their ability to bring a different sound to that time should not be ignored.
As rock historians look back and argue the finer points of The Afghan Whigs' impact, you are probably more interested in the present: What’s up with the band today? Touring behind their first album’s worth of new material since 1998—it’s been 16 years and this new record, Do to the Beast, also marks their triumphant return to Sub Pop—their Portland stop is at the freakin’ Doug Fir!
Let’s put this in context: On April 14, 2014, the band, which during their 2012 reunion, caused SPIN’s Steven Kandell to gush “their first show together since then , at New York's Bowery Ballroom last night, felt less like an easy nostalgia trip than a reminder of problems we, perhaps selectively, forgot we ever had," is going to be playing at one of Portland’s most intimate and sonically friendly venues in town. At that first show in 13 years, "leader Greg Dulli was leaner, meaner, fitter, and in better voice at 47 than even during the band's heyday," and you can expect that same energy as the band kicks off their 2014 world tour—Portland is just the third stop and immediately follows their set at the first weekend of Coachella.
To catch The Afghan Whigs in a venue such as the Doug Fir on their way up in the early '90s would have been memorable, but to get the chance to do so once again—20 years later—is a can’t-miss opportunity.
Sadly, like most shows that are too good to be true, this one sold out quickly, but there is still a chance! If you can’t score one from a friend, a select number of tickets will likely be released at the Doug Fir ticket window at 7:30pm on the night of the show. Best of luck!