Mark Lanegan


Did I mention it’s hot? I seem to spend half the day moaning about how nice the weather is at the moment, but at least I’m not off to spend an evening in a sweaty mosh pit, as Mark Lanegan’s newer material is more measured than his work with Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age.

The support act Duke Garwood sounds like Nick Cave trying to sneak out of a swamp on an air boat. Duke’s guitar and bassy baritone voice are backed by a quiet drummer who pitches his parts at just the right level, keeping us ticking along without intruding on the low, muddy, spacey but dynamic guitar style.

The simple, mostly minor-key bluesy music is mostly a broad-stroke background for the lyrics, so it’s disappointing that the sound near the stage is muddied to the point where I can’t actually make out much of what Duke is singing.

Overall, though, it’s a good, chilled vibe for a hot summer’s night; very laid-back and evocative, and just the kind of non-challenging support to get everyone in the mood for the main event.

There’s no getting away from the fact that Mark Lanegan Band is an older group of men, particularly compared to Lanegan’s extensive credits from the 80’s onwards. The energy levels have come down significantly, but this is still a rock show, despite the more restrained and melodic approach. The Gravedigger’s Song, for example, seems to have slowed down a little for tonight and lost some of its insistence, replaced by a gentler, flowing vibe. The catchy new single, Beehive marks another step along this road well-trodden.

There’s still a driving beat to a few of the tunes, like Riot in My House, and a band who are very well balanced in their contributions to each song. It doesn’t take much to muddle up a song when you have six musician but these tunes have got just as much as they need (and not more) with tonight’s line-up (which also includes Duke, of Duke Garwood fame) all measuring their contributions and filling in on keyboards, percussion and extra guitars as needed.

The bass sound in the encore is very different from the rest of the gig – there’s a chorus effect on there, making it really cut through the mix. It’s soon clear why, as the encore opens with a cover of Joy Division’s Atmosphere.

What also becomes clear to the audience quite gradually is that there’s a guest on stage, who is Peter Hook. People start getting excited in a way that they haven’t been all evening and by the end of the first Joy Division cover the place has already gone up a gear.

When the first few bars of Love Will Tear Us Apart ring out, it’s like a light goes on, hands go up in the air and the place is jumping by the chorus. I am genuinely getting tingles just writing about it.

I could have written that Peter Hook stole Mark Lanegan’s thunder, but Lanegan brought more of a brooding storm cloud; a smouldering ember – but when that storm cloud broke, when that ember burst into flame, I’m sure that the band felt every bit as great as we all felt watching it.

Mark Lanegan Band Official | Facebook | Twitter

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.