Venue: The Empire, Belfast Date: 28/04/10 Even though you don't fall for what everyone says about some artists; you know deep down that you should pay good money to go and see them. WARNING - This can result in an obsession. Mark Lanegan is one of those artists. Last week, Lanegan shook the walls of Belfast's Empire Music Hall - as he summoned the vocals of The Devil's bowels. Does anyone else sing this low? Only Tom Waits comes close. It is just All about The Voice. While writing at night; his creepy recorded crooning keeps vibrating an eminating speaker over the edge of this desk!
Now this reviewer usually lambasts artists for not interacting with their audience but a few "thank yous" from tonight's performer was in fact enough. The persona was part of the arora: 6"5, Dyed black hair and a rather shabby outfit of the same colour. He's the new Johnny Cash - before the, before he died phase you know... Walking on stage with an acoutic guitar player, he opened up with When Your Number Isn't Up from 2004's Bubblegum. The time flew by. He played Like Little Willie John, Cripple Creek, One Hundred Days - amongst others- before retiring to go back stage briefly before encore. His voice went at times but nothing was too noticeable. Everytime an audience member shouted something at him he retreated to the side for water or just looked away. He finished with Hanging Tree - the tune he did on Queens of The Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf - executed headbangingly by his acoustic guitar player. It was the perfect piece of mid-week escapism (apart from if you were at the 405 Birthday Bash) and the venue could have been anywhere. Somewhere in the U.S, exotic or Hell.