Mark Lanegan played day 3 of Leuven’s M-IDZOMER 2016 Festival, in the museum’s outdoor premises. Needless to say, the place became a magic garden tinged with melancholy and blues renaissance for a cathartic ritual of beating anguish with stillness.
The five musicians made appearance dressed in black on a stage soaked in blue and red light. Without saying a word, Mark Lanegan went directly into the setlist. He started with ‘Harvest Home’ from his latest studio album, Phantom Radio, and moved back and forward through his catalogue, not too far though, keeping close to releases from ‘2000s onwards. The following song – The Gravedigger’s Song – established the other favored album of the setlist, Blues Funeral.
There were songs with special live flavor. ‘One Way Street’, recently revisited in a compilation on Sub Pop Albums, thrilled with glacial pace and ghostly guitar effects. ‘Riot in My House’ and ‘Harborview Hospital’ were guitar-filled by Jeff Fielder, an accompaniment that dramatically amplified the performance. And it was probably ‘Torn Red Heart’ which benefited the most from a live band arrangements, when it became a dense exquisite wall of sound in which guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals contributed equally to that soothing desolation. In fact, each and every song coming from Phantom Radio sounded intense, heavy, mesmerizing. Among all these jewelries, one notable mention to ‘Black Rose Way’, Screaming Trees cover, which gave the drummer the possibility to hit the drums as he seemed to have wanted the whole concert, with rock’n roll intensity.
As expected, Lanegan didn’t speak much, just a few words mostly occasional thanks, but he did took a moment to present the band.
They left stage after one and half hour to return almost immediately for a respectable length encore. From ‘I am the Wolf’, written by Duke Garwood for Mark Lanegan, to ‘Methamphetamine Blues’, nobody wanted the music to stop. Because Mark Lanegan has that remarkable soulful voice that turns even your deepest nightmare into a lullaby and he preserves the energy at highest levels even on a vulnerable mournful statement.
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. It is also a cause of tinnitus and hearing loss. If you’re a constant concert-goer, stop fooling around and invest 150 euro in your health with a pair of professional, custom made earplugs. That’s right, the kind all cool musicians, reviewers and conscious music lovers own. There are numerous providers, search for one in your city right now. Hearing does not come back; once lost, music can stop forever.