Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017

Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017Mark Lanegan @ o2 Institute 2 , 19th June, 2017

Mark Lanegan

The very talented Duke Garwood is the support act for tonight’s performance, which is unsurprising as he is a long time collaborator with Lanegan and also plays in his band. Unfortunately, I missed the beginning of the set but hearing the last couple of tracks certainly suggests the quality would have been there from the get go.

Mark Lanegan

Duke is only accompanied by a drummer and yet manages to produce a blissful sound utilizing his guitar to the full as his restrained, laid back vocal line works magic through the attentive venue. Sometimes and the final track, which is so new that it is yet untitled, demonstrates how effectively Garwood uses dynamics to produce such sensitive songs. Certainly, the best support act I have seen in the last couple of years or so.

Mark Lanegan

I am going to lay my cards on the table; being a massive Lanegan fan, I have seen him perform numerous times but he never fails to impress.  This evening is no different. Mark Lanegan is touring his latest album Gargoyle and begins with the opening track Death’s Head Tattoo. The volume produced by the five piece backing band is immense and it takes a moment for the levels to settle down none of which phases the vocalist who takes his usual stance; gripping the mic stand with both hands and his left foot forward.   Mark Lanegan’s rumbling vocals consist of the finest qualities from the likes of other baritone vocalists such as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen that he uses to generate an emotional space.

Mark Lanegan

The set proceeds with Harvest Home from the Phantom Radio album, which encapsulates the vibe of Screaming Trees followed by the thumping The Gravedigger’s Song. The driving rhythm and weaving guitar parts demonstrate the versatility of Lanegan’s songwriting skills, having the capacity to create such heaviness and then, in contrast, a gentle heartbreaking track such as One Way Street.  Over recent years, Mark Lanegan has become one of the most prolific musicians on the circuit, which provides him with a vast back catalogue that he can dip into.

Mark Lanegan

Tonight’s set consists of tracks predominantly from Gargoyle, Phantom Radio and the very popular Blues Funeral yet he unexpectedly throws in Head from Bubblegum that is a new addition to his live set and was a most welcome inclusion. Even though Blues Funeral was released five years ago, tracks that I wasn’t initially enamoured with have grown on me since hearing them live, mainly Harborview Hospital and Ode To Sad Disco. Maybe it is familiarity or it could be the passion that Lanegan places behind the vocal performance that has enhanced my appreciation and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing both of them.

Mark Lanegan

However, the track that produces a tear is always One Hundred Days with its stark opening chords and thought-provoking lyrics.  After an hour and a quarter, Mark Lanegan has barely addressed the audience apart from the odd recognition of the appreciation that he is receiving and to introduce his superb band but he doesn’t need to engage in banter as this would only detract from the inspiringly melancholic mood he has conjured up. It is the encore that propels the set to another level with an awesome cover version of Joy Division’s Atmosphere.  Whilst maintaining the essence of the original song, Mark Lanegan is able to add his unique take making it an absolutely blistering finale to a fantastic set, enhanced by his exit before the song finishes leaving the band to draw the track and the performance to a close.

I have said it before and no doubt I will say it again, I truly believe Mark Lanegan to be one of the greatest vocalists and songwriters of the present whose adaptability is an utter strength and, as always, my only complaint would be that he left me wanting more.

 

Reviewer: Toni Woodward

Photographer: Marc Osborne

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