These days Mark Lanegan is a frequent visitor to Ireland, playing two nights in the a Sugar a Club a matter of months after his appearance at the Longitude festival.
First up on the night was Lyenn, a guitarist with what can only be described as Marmite vocals. His set of warbled songs was mercifully short. He was followed by Duke Garwood who appeared to have done little or no preparation for the set, delivering a set of rambling, formless songs. His best bits sounded vaguely reminiscent of watered down Mark Lanegan but at other times the ‘all-over-the-shop’ vibe was a little tedious.
The arrival of a Mark Lanegan and band put a bit of shape on the evening. With the aforementioned Garwood on guitar and occasional sax, along with guitar, bass, maracas and strings, the ensemble appeared a little untogether. This messy, devilish brew worked reasonably well initially on selections from Lanegan and Garwood’s Black Pudding album (especially War Memorial and Pentecostal). With Lanegan’s vocals anchoring proceedings, When Your Number Isn’t Up featured some downright lovely strings. This was matched by recent material The Gravedigger’s Song and Phantasmagoria Blues but the whole sound never quite gelled.
Any momentum was killed by the introduction of some of the cheesier moments from Lanegan’s Imitations album (Mack the Knife, Solitaire), though they delivered a stately version of Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love. Proceedings jolted back on track with decent renditions of One Hundred Days and Mirrored, leaving time to resurrect Screaming Trees’ Halo of Ashes on an encore which highlighted the lack of a drummer on the night.
It’s fair to say that the concert didn’t quite work, despite Lanegan’s charisma and some pleasing musical moments, there was a distracting lack of focus to the night.