O2 Institute, Birmingham
At last, 3rd time lucky, I have got to see him, mishap and misfortune interfering during his last 2 trips. And what timing, hot on the heels of strong contender for 2017 album of the year, Gargoyle.
First things first, arriving as I did half way through the support, a 2 piece on guitar and drums. Who is this, I asked those about me, too old to read the paper on the wall behind the bar. Nobody knew, but I liked the gothic(k) stuff, evoking the bastard love child of 90’s RT, Night Comes In, with ’67 Doors, The End, but with more distort. Of, course, it suddenly hit me, Duke Garwood, buddy of Lanegan, and it was indeed. Tip top stuff I will be investigating.
A short gap and on comes the band, again with Garwood, this time on 2nd guitar, maracas and 2nd keyboards. (To be fair, Lanegan later introduced the whole band, but all I could hear was him clearing his throat.) I love Gargoyle and I love Gravediggers Blues, his last 2 releases in this sort of style, guitar heavy electronica, at least on record. Live it was much more the sound of chiming guitars, as many as 3 alongside each other at one time. And, sure, yes the sound was muddy, the sound was distorted, but isn’t it supposed to be? My still humming ears say yes, so can I say accurately what he played? Probably not, but I recognised most, giving me both a smile on my face and a spring in my step, a scheme enjoyed by the never more bearded audience. Roughly an hour and 3/4 before he abruptly left stage, seemingly mid song. That was the end, and a few cheers reassuringly brought him back.
A man of few words, the introductions aside, with perhaps 3 thanks or thank you very muches, he doesn’t do interaction with his audience, hidden behind yellow lensed dyslexia shades, clinging to the mike stand. The main guitarist, pop pie hatted, and the keyboard player (doubling on 3rd guitar), gave everything they could, matching Garwood, with bass and drums pinning it all down with precision. I am guessing the keyboardist was the principal collaborator behind the album Gargoyle, Rob Marshall, but may be wrong. First night of the tour and nowt to google.
Beard frenzy, mid 20s upward, myself by no means conspicuously old. Appeciative and enthralled.
It made me think..
I like this man live even more than on record. I came late to his oeuvre, by way of his stuff with Isobel Campbell, rather than the more american metallica, small a. I can commend it to those put off by his gruff persona.