Mark Lanegan @ The Croxton

Loved the voice, loved the songs, didn’t love the vibe-killing background chatter that wouldn’t cease. Still, catching one of my all-time favourite singers live was a treat.

I thought I’d skip the support act and instead spend more time at home with the Nordic noir of The Killing TV series, so I got to Thornbury around 9pm. Finding parking proved to be a pain in the ass and I made it inside the venue just before the main act, after driving up and down the street a few times. The Bandroom was full but not obscenely packed, and despite the presence of ladies it felt very much like a maaaaan gig. I stayed mostly in the middle of the floor area, and moved only once to avoid a middle-aged couple suffering from a bad case of verbal diarrhea. Seriously, the only time they were quiet was when one of them left to buy a drink.

I first saw Mark Lanegan a good few years ago and my only complaint then was that the gig was just under an hour including the encore, which seemed a bit measly. This time around, thankfully, I got to bask in his gravelly vocal awesomeness for longer. He was accompanied onstage by a rockin’ guitar player and a girl on the electronic side of things. I expected the set to be dominated by Gargoyle, Lanegan’s latest album, but surprisingly they didn’t get into it until the fourth song in or so, starting the show instead with When Your Number Isn’t Up off Bubblegum, which to be fair is a perfect dark and brooding opener that sets the tone for the night. Bubblegum and its slow tender tracks like Morning Glory Wine got the most love on the night; I guess I can’t complain considering it’s my favourite album of his. The newer material with the more electronic flavour sounded great as well.

Unfortunately the concert atmosphere was somewhat marred by the crowd murmur, which was especially audible during the quieter songs. Perhaps some people enjoy the more casual chatty atmosphere, but for me it detracts from the performance big time. The crowd at least gave Lanegan an enthusiastic welcome; he was his usual laconic self and kept the banter to the bare minimum with a few gruff thank yous. I enjoyed the gig, but it would be great to see him in a venue that discourages blabbing.

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