For the latest round of dates, Mark Lanegan has called into Wolverhampton to play the Wulfrun Hall. Like her sister building, the Civic, she is undergoing extensive works, but from first glance it appears exactly the same as it’s always been. The staff assure me work is going on behind the scenes.
Mark Lanegan has a long musical history, and his past work and collaborations are well documented, forming a who’s who in music. For those not familiar a search is in order. His most recent album, Gargoyle, was released earlier this year and his shows in the Summer were powerfully driven, some describing it as ‘gothic electro disco’, but this music shouldn’t be categorised, and instead should be taken and enjoyed for what it is, beautiful songs, arranged and performed by a towering gentleman, who at times appears like a wounded soul.
The set features songs from his whole back-catalogue, and as ever it’s about the music. The lighting is simple, the stage dark, as Mark shuffles out, grabs the microphone centre-stage, and this is where he stays for the next ninety minutes, only moving twice, once to remove his glasses and once for a drink.
There are stand-out moments, on ‘Hit The City’ he is joined by Michelle O’Brien on backing vocals, and their harmonies make your hair stand on end, very much reminiscent of his work with Isobell Campbell. He is also joined by support act Duke Garwood playing what looks like a flute (forgive my ignorance of wind instruments). It really is a beautiful rendition of the song.
Personally the pinnacle was ‘Bleeding Muddy Water’ which is a perfect vehicle for his vocals, and showing his tender side. You couldn’t take your eyes or ears off him, it was almost hypnotic as though he was reaching out with a hand and pulling you onto the stage.
The set tonight (spoiler at the end) was similar to his last Midlands date at Birmingham in the summer, yet it was a completely different atmosphere, it was darker, both visually and musically, and the songs seemed less bass and drum driven.
The encore again saw Michelle support on ‘Bombed’, and it would be great to hear these two voices perform more. And then, as is now becoming tradition, a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’. Mark has one of the most suitable voices for this and again it’s a superb performance, however, just when we think we’re done and about to form a queue to meet the man (he almost always does a signing session on the merch stand) he hits us with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. It is simply brilliant.
The 200 or so of us tonight are clearly fans, but I’m puzzled why more people don’t get Mark. Maybe it’s too close to Christmas and money is tight? Maybe they’re at Stone Sour in Birmingham? Either way they missed yet another stunning gig by Mark Lanegan.
Mark Lanegan Set-List
Death’s Head Tattoo
The Gravedigger’s Song
Hit the City
Bleeding Muddy Water
Ode to Sad Disco
Riot in My House
One Hundred Days
Floor to the Ocean
Come to Me
Death Trip to Tulsa
One Way Street
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Review: Glenn Raybone
Photograph courtesy of PR