Thursday, August 26, 2010

Concert Review: Mark Lanegan – The Academy, Dublin, August 25th 2010

Mark Lanegan has been spoiling his Irish fans, this was his second visit here in 4 months! I was sceptical about how different this show would be to the one in April, but I couldn’t let it pass without checking it out.

The gig was in the same venue as four months ago, but in the main area this time, which was just as well as the gig was jam packed. There were 2 support acts. The first was Jim McKee, a big haired northerner with a guitar and harmonica who was backed up by a girl playing an inaudible cello. He was somewhat unremarkable, not irritating, but not engaging. Ryan Sheridan followed, playing guitar with another guy playing a sort of ‘percussion’ box. There was great energy and enthusiasm on the stage, and the music wasn’t bad either, though he was let down by his ‘generic indie’ voice.

Anyway mainman Mark Lanegan came on stage soon after, with guitarist Dave Rosser, who replaced his acoustic guitar of 4 months ago with an electric. I’m not going to continue the hair motif, anyone else who was there can do that…

The early part of the set drew heavily on Field Songs, with I think 5 of the first 7 tracks coming from this album. Little Willie John was an early highlight, sung here in a lower, more understated style than the recorded version. As the gig went on it was hard not to fixate on Lanegan’s voice, sounding as powerful and as tuneful as ever, he really is in fine voice these days.

There were few major surprises, a Kinks cover sounded good but his own solo tracks really shone in this setting, especially One Hundred Days, a wonderful song, full of regret and a great big sad vocal.

They did quite a long encore, throwing in Screaming Trees tracks (Traveller, Shadow of the Season, Halo of Ashes) which left most of the audience bemused, and Queens of the Stone Age’s Hanging Tree, which got the best response of the night.

The faster tracks left part of me hankering for a heavier set up, drums, bass etc, though with just electric guitar Mark’s voice was given plenty of room to breathe. This was as good a Mark Lanegan gig as I’ve ever been to.