Mark Lanegan truly has one of the most impressive bodies of work that any rock musician could dream up. It’s tough to say what he is most known for – Is it from starting the legendary Seattle grunge outfit Screaming Trees over 30 years ago – paving the way for the 90s explosion of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains? Is it the bands he’s fronted over the years – Mad Season (with members of AIC and Pearl Jam), The Gutter Twins (with Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs), electronic albums with Soul Savers, or straight up Nancy and Lee Americana with former Belle & Sebastian chanteuse Isobel Campbell – Is it from being a frequent member of Queens Of The Stone Age or recording a yet unreleased album of blues with Kurt Cobain? Is it for his work with UNKLE? Whatever you know him for, his solo C.V. is just as impressive, his 9th album just as Mark Lanegan – Phantom Radio was one of his best received and most straightforward of his over 30 year career in music. He’s coming to town again and no matter whom he brings or what he selects from his bag, it’s the best thing happening on a Monday in this cold ass town.
I used to positively rue hearing Lanegan’s music. I have a bit of a story though about it – here goes;
I was living in a council estate house in Galway, Ireland with a bunch of mostly unemployed stoners who spent their days eating toasties, watching Star Trek – Next Generation and playing GTA. It was great times – no one had any money for anything except beer, cannabis and baked beans. One of the dudes did manage a record shop though downtown, so we were always getting in a steady stream of albums in the house, he would fill up his backpack with a stack of cds, we would rip them and burn them, (these were the days before everyone had computers either) and play them on the shitty ghetto blaster that moved from room to room when needed. Declan once told me that Mark Lannegans voice was “positively a leg opener…” meaning in his mind if you got a bird back to gaff somehow, all you had to do was stick on a Mark Lanegan album and you would seal the deal. “It’s something about the frequency in his voice, it just makes ‘em moist” he said. I was seriously grossed out by the mental image of him fumbling around with discs and knocking boots with whatever troll he could possibly pluck from the night of the graveyards of ambition.
Seems Dec went through a purple streak though and for awhile I was hearing Mark Lanegan albums on repeat through the walls and kept awake by the sounds of squeaking furniture and the smell of bad hash and Christian Dior aftershave. I knew when I heard Mark Lanegan, it was my cue to slip down to the kitchen and play with the mice that lived behind the oven or watch an episode of Star Trek.
Now I’ve come to terms with the beautiful baritone of Mark Lanegan. I can now say that I’ve had more positive experiences with his voice than negative. I first saw him about 4 years ago here in Aarhus during fest week and I was just hypnotized by his voice. I see what Declan meant by the frequencies, up loud and in person..the coins and keys in my pocket were rattling; my beer was going flat and just the pure vibration of the timbre of his voice made my body feel like he was singing inside me. The closest I could ever say I’ve come to…letting a man inside me. Ahem.
His performances since then in Aarhus have been just as mesmerizing. There’s always a sense of longing and darkness in his persona. A giant man with a mop of hair that walks like the devil and hunches over the microphone and tells his stories – with a soundtrack of dark folk often exploding into synth madness or guitar heaviness, it’s quite a show. Phantom Radio, his latest offering is possibly his best solo work yet, and I’m sure you’ll be moved with his selections of older material as well.
I know it’s a bit early for a Valentines date, but be prepared if you bring your lady friend (or man friend naturally) to lose them to Mark Lannegan’s performance on Monday. Train is a great place to see such a show; I’ll see you there, reliving all kinds of memories.
Tickets are still available at 250dkk + booking. Support on the night (starting at 21.00) is from Sean Wheeler & Zander Scloss (US). Check out Train’s event on their web for more details.