Mark Lanegan @ Shepherds Bush Empire
Mark Lanegan, the obscure enlightenment of rock music lands at Shepherds Bush Empire.
The voice, over the concert, like a shadow, stretched, shortened and then disappeared from the stage.
Without significant words to the excited crowd of fans, but his splendid lyrics, just a few timid, distant – Thank you, the tall man is dark, hidden, almost frightened.
There aren’t light changes on stage, just pink and blue circles on the band. And it’s enough to feel drowned in the sequence of beautiful sounds and the deep smokey voice. All comes and dissolves.
Mark Lanegan is the black and white photograph of modern song writing. Intense beauty made of contrast and nuances of grey. A grey that at last goes black.
On stage he’s steady motionless. On his right hand side a Jonny Cash-styled lead guitarist dance on his chords in bizarre and adorable rock-and-roll fashion.
Mr. Lanegan doesn’t even look at his band (eventually he turned once at his drummer). He’s a sole soul breathing out the voice of his songs.
Since Bubblegum, following several cooperation and side projects, we had to wait 8 long years for his new album, Blue Funeral. The title speaks for itself.
Twelve tracks of rock, of blues and the new injections of synths and electronic beats. You will find gravediggers, blood, hospitals and a sad disco too.
Live, all these images grow, melt and evolve in our ears.
I particularly loved the performance in Grey Goes Black where the drums syncopated counter rhythms is a hypnotic tribal ritual wrapping tightly the soothing voice and, love it or hate it, the electronic shock of Ode to Sad Disco, when – undeniable – all the heads around me were grooving to the beats.
Unforgettable sadness during the amazing encore Harborview Hospital.
A concert that awoke us, opening our eyes on the forgotten grace of the perishing reality of life.
At the end of the show, Mr. Lanegan appeared at the merch stand to sign records and posters. He smiled gently, shyly, wearing backwards a baseball cap that somehow gave him something of human and even frivolity.
We know he’s in a new period of his life and for sure, seen this concert, that’s a wonderful thing.