LIVE REVIEW: Mark Lanegan @ Boiler Shop (30.11.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The occasionally disturbing visuals are the first we see of Los Angeles’ Joe Cardamone, and sadly it’s the lasting impression too from an artist who can’t decide if he wants to be a modern Lou Reed or a 90’s Marilyn Manson.  There’s plenty of style, just very little substance.   

Alternatively, Duke Garwood is almost a polar opposite.  He has the songs, appropriately downbeat, but not so much the appeal to keep the attention of a crowd that is waiting heartily for the main man of the night.  Still, it’s refreshing and in a more intimate setting would surely go down a treat. 

Mark Lanegan is a troubadour. He’s a relic from another time that has survived over three decades in the music business because he’s the real thing.  He looks haggard because he is, he’s been battered and bruised and is scarred and has the Tom Waits-esque voice to prove it.  People appreciate the kind of honesty and authenticism that Lanegan brings to the stage because he has in it abundance and there’s less and less of it around.  So a healthy sized Boiler Shop crowd are treated to a no thrills, no drama, no histrionics set that simmers with a world weary energy and the voice of a man that has seen it all and lived to tell the tale.

The Gravedigger’s Song is industrial brilliance, giving Nine Inch Nails a run for their money.  It’s seedy, it’s dirty, it’s beautiful.  Sister from this year’s Gargoyle is true poetry, both melancholic and full of optimism.  From the same record, Nocturne is Leonard Cohen’s First We Take Manhattan before becoming Lanegan’s 90’s Seattle trailblazing Screaming Trees.  It’s a blistering combination.  Most of Lanegan’s solo career gets a visit, from Harvest Home on 2014’s Phantom Radio right back to Methamphetamine Blues from 2004’s Bubblegum and its cast of alternative rock superstars.  Tonight, however, is all about Lanegan and in truth, little else is needed.  He represents both the past, and in many ways, the way forward.

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