Mark Lanegan, the voice you know from The Screaming Trees, various Queens Of The Stone Age songs and a long list of other collaborations. He’s had a long successful solo career that started back in 1990 with the album The Winding Sheet, trademarking a distinctive baritone voice that sounds like a three day beard with a diet of whiskey and cigarettes.
If I didn’t know better I would think he was the lost son of Tom Waits. Who knows, really. The band enters the stage without a sound. It’s dark, there’s no hello, the music starts. It’s still dark. He plays it cool, without looking at the audience. He opens his mouth and lets out his well known smoked jerky whiskey voice, flowing over us like a dense fog slowly filling the room.
It’s a pleasant feeling. I feel at home. The first three songs I’m busy taking my pictures. It’s a typical “first three songs only” gig, but with the “cheap” lighting at Rockefeller, it doesn’t really matter when in the set I take my shots. Nothing changes on the stage. The flat light stays throughout the set, and Lanegan doesn’t move more than a finger, except when he leaves the stage, only to come back for the encore.
It’s a slow start for a non die hard fan like me. It reaches the point that I think its getting a bit boring, but just before boredom sets in, he lays out one of his many familiar hits. It fuels the fire and I’m enjoying it even more when he keeps putting those harder songs/hits in between the lullabies. It’s a cleverly planned set, because I actually never get to that point where I feel bored.
With the new songs “Riot In My House” and “The Gravedigger’s Song” from the recent album “Blues Funeral”, and the classics from the Bubblegum album (2004) like “I Hit The City” and “Methamphetamine Blues” evenly spread throughout the set it keeps me on my feet.
It pleases me to see that he’s also experimenting with more alternative music genres. On “Ode To Sad Disco”, it seems he’s picked up some influences from 80’s Eurythmics. Beside his way down HITS-street this was probably the most exciting part of the concert. He shows he’s capable to handle any style he set out to challenge himself with. Near the end I actually almost fell asleep under “Harborview Hospital” . I thought at that moment, he would be the perfect lullaby-singer for me.
I would pay good money to have him by my bedside singing me to sleep. His voice has certainly grew over the years, gotten deeper and more distinctive. A friend of mine refers to him as the “voice of god”. If I ever had a god he/she/it would have Mark Lanegan’ voice. He woke me up once again with the song “Quivere Syndrome” and gave me a decent set of goose bumps. For me that was the perfect ending; it recharged my batteries.
All photos by Erik Moholdt, please do not reproduce without permission.
We have a live video exclusive of this concert in our second March Issue, keep yr ears and eyes peeled!