It’s always a strange experience visiting this wonderful little venue, as I have been going there for years and keep seeing the same people without ever knowing who any of them are. And the way they look around the room at others and myself, they feel the same way too. A lovely little community then, none of whom have ever spoken to each other during the past two decades, and all of us getting that little bit fatter with each show we go to.
Anyway, I thought I’d struggle with this one – doing a second review of what could have been the same show, only 24 hours later usually means getting the Thesaurus out and doing the same thing over again but with different and longer words. But no! This show was very different from last night’s, and not just because the Towel Table was considerably larger than the previous one.
Firstly, the place was absolutely jam-packed. It’s a sad fact, but it’s time for us to realise that Mark Lanegan is simply too big for the Academy 3 – the speed with which this particular show sold out bears this out. Secondly, it was even hotter than last night. And most importantly, the entire vibe was completely different.
It began with Duke Garwood’s opening set – I’m really warming to this guy’s work, with his otherworldly guitar playing and general between-song affability. It should also be noted that his guitar lead was looped through his strap this time, to prevent repetition of the previous evening’s shenanigans where it made a valiant attempt to escape mid-song.
The sound in the venue wasn’t quite as sharp and crisp, lending a more bassy and echoey edge to the music, and Duke seemed to adapt to this well – where last night’s set was haunting/ed and ethereal, this one was a little more punchy and direct. All good stuff, and I look forward to doing further listening to this guy next time I have a few spare quid knocking about the place.
And then Mark and David took to the stage, illuminated (if that’s the right word – might have to get the Thesaurus after all) in dark blue. No photos from me today, because frankly you could hardly see anything. Which doesn’t really come as a huge surprise at Lanegan-related shows, so there you go. Lots and lots of flashbulbs going off again (it was like the club scene in Fire Walk With Me at times!), so somebody’ll have a few dozen somewhere…
The sound continued in the same sonorous vein as with Duke’s set, and this gave the overall mood of the show a whole different shade. Where Mark was roaring last night, he was slightly more restrained tonight, letting the sound carry itself over and around the crowd rather than throwing it at them. Dave’s guitar playing was slightly different as well, adding a more percussive backing to the many songs on offer.
Highlights? Plenty. The setlist was similar (this word is important!) to the previous show, but with some shuffling and some additions. The show opened with When Your Number Isn’t Up, with an early-set appearance of Shiloh Town and Where the Twain Shall Meet moved up from its previous encore slot. And on the subject of encores, the list was nicely expanded by the addition of a pitch-perfect and emotionally-captivating rendition of Wild Flowers, a version of Bombed that – in a weird reversal from these sort of acoustic get-togethers – added layers on top of the original, a sublime version of the Screaming Trees’ Traveler and Duke Garwood also joined the guys on stage for a very Middle Easternesque runthrough of Misirlou, which was stunning and highly reminiscent of Mark’s own Because of This (the title of which I must confess to originally writing down before the vocals kicked in!)
Off to see Mark & Dave again next week in Nottingham. Can’t wait.
When Your Number Isn’t Up
One Way Street
No Easy Action / Miracle
Like Little Wille John
Don’t Forget Me
Where The Twain Shall Meet
Message to Mine
Can’t Catch the Train
One Hundred Days
On Jesus’ Program
Misirlou – Feat. Duke Garwood