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Mark Lanegan Band Plays Bowery Ballroom [2/7/12]
The following music review was written by Jim Wallis.
A full moon hung above Delancey Street Tuesday night and lead fans of the Mark Lanegan Band to the Bowery Ballroom for the group’s album release show. Tracks from Blues Funeral, the band’s first studio album since 2004, were torn through in a gritty performance that left the dense crowd of Lanegan loyalists satisfied.
An evil vibe persisted for some greeted at the door with the news, “these are fake” regarding their Craigslist-purchased tickets. (I heard of at least seven incidents, yours truly included). But good citizens of New York, Detroit and the World were frequently generous with streetside extras sold at face value. (I suggest making sure the sellers name matches the purchased by on the ticket, but what do I know, I got taken too.)
The stage was dimly-lit in blood red for the duration of the raw set which weaved new tracks and familiars from the band’s previous album, Bubblegum. Debuts included heavy and electronic skewing numbers like “The Gravediggers Song,” “Bleeding Muddy Water” and “Ode to Sad Disco.” Well-tread choices such as “Hit the City” and “Methamphetamine Blues” also made their way into the performance.
Known for his gravel and whisky strewn voice, Lanegan, who was once frontman of the Screaming Trees, wasted little of it between numbers, dropping a few “thanks you’s” and a lone but lauded “I love New York” on the crowd. During the songs his voice was impeccable, living up to any recorded release and seemingly propping up the singer’s hulking and ominous frame. Few would argue that a voice fitting for the more humid corridors of hell needs much more than looming over the mic to establish stage presence.
A tight performance and a three song encore made for a minimal but aggressive show. The Mark Lanegan Band is no pop act and proved they need to be sought out through the night and dark rooms to be appreciated. Though the lyrics of the band’s new track “The Quiver Syndrome” proclaim that the “moon don’t smile on Saturday’s child,” those orphans of the weekend present on Tuesday were pleased to bask in the glow of a pagan evening summoned by Mark Lanegan and his minions.