Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mark Lanegan Band Live At Alcatraz

...Mark Lanegan Band - Live At Alcatraz, Milan
March 25, 2012


He is a man of few words. Three words, actually. But he isn’t here to talk, he is here to sing.

photo by Sam Holden
Who he would be if he wasn’t who he is: Charon’s sidekick, he who sings for the lost souls on a boat ride to nowhere.

So this is it. The First WhattaCool Review. I was standing there, listening to his wonderful and cavernous voice, and I thought Oh yes Lanegan, I choose You!

A lot has passed since his last solo appearance in Italy. Sure, I saw him with Greg Dulli at the Salumeria Della Musica, three years ago, when the Gutter Twins went acoustic: it was good. And he came back again with Isobel Campbell, and again it was good. But Sunday was different.

His Belgian supporters, Creature With The Atom Brain, sets the mood for the evening. Then his Belgian Band takes position and a lone black tall figure appears on stage and raises his hand in salute. The crowd cheers and it begins. He blends the tracks from his latest album Blues Funeral with older songs, with barely a pause, holding onto the boom like an executioner on his ax.  His low, low, voice permeates the club and solves the acoustic problems of the hall. We clap and shout and jump and slowly dance along with the music. He doesn’t seem to notice us, jammed in his wooden posture. He is like a blind and deaf man and his only way to communicate with the world outside is to keep on singing. All he has to say to us is in his lyrics. You are entitled to dislike his approach, or worship it. He probably doesn’t even care. But if YOU care, that damned voice will fill you, and drain you, and move you.

The Numbers: 21 songs (special mentions for Crawlspace [by Screaming Trees], St. Louis Elegy, Tiny Grain of Truth, and all the encores, especially Methamphetamine Blues), almost 2 hours of concert, 4 European musicians, one guy with his fingers full of stars, a great lot of fans (and in the night of Juve-Inter that was not an easy thing to accomplish), and 3 words.

That word is always Thanks.

Coolness Factor: 5 out of 7

Top Three People of the Evening:

#3-My girlfriend, repeating to the steward at the front door that No, we don’t carry any bottle of water! She was lying. Overwhelmed by remorse, I chose to only drink beer for the remainder of the evening.

#2-Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero, scoring in Turin while Crawlspace[Martin] and Quiver Syndrome[Alex] resonated in Milan. Thank you guys.

#1-Steven Janssens, the coolest man in the club. He sports a suit and an awesome quiff straight out of the fifties, looks like Johnny Cash, and sure knows how to play the guitar. For me, instabuy. I formally pledge to myself to review him sooner or later.


  1. 'But if YOU care, that damned voice will fill you, and drain you, and move you.'

    what a line - great review!!

  2. Thanks-Merci-Gracias-Grazie!!!

  3. Charon’s sidekick!!! :)
    Good job with your review! i enjoyed the gig@Alcatraz even if i was in the first row and sound wasn’t so good. The bass was too loud and now and then overwhelmed mark’stunning voice.
    anyway, Lanegan: amazing!

  4. Thank you kinka! :)

    And yes you're right, there were some problems in the acoustics, though from where I was (middle right) they dind' bother me too much!

    For me Mark's Gig was one of those times in which the show ends and you feel slightly disappointed, then in the days after, when you find yourself thinking about it and talking about it and writing about it, you realize that it has left you much more than you thought!!

  5. :) That's Mark Lanegan!
    his voice swallows you up and his music, his voice, his lyrics have such a sense of mistery and beauty that put you in a different places...One of the most haunting persona in music.