INDIE ROCKER Mark Lanegan delivers a night of brooding power and rock gravitas at the Barby Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: LIOR KETER)
‘I wish I’m that cool when I turn 50,” said a friend of mine, soon after Mark Lanegan’s concert in Tel Aviv ended on Monday night.
And that is one of Lanegan’s best traits. Standing there on stage, clothed all in black (even his towel was black), he hardly moves, but seems possessed with the holy ghost of rock and roll. Holding the mic intensely, he was completely engaged with the music and atmosphere of the Barby, and with the hundreds of Israeli fans huddled together as if in a trance.
Lanegan’s persona is reminiscent of Doors singer Jim Morrison or Tom Waits. His deep baritone lends songs a dark and mysterious aura which goes well with numbers such as “Judgment Time,” “Phantasmagoria Blues,” “The Gravedigger’s Song” and “Death Trip to Tulsa.”
However, surprisingly enough his music does not fall solely into the bleak category.
Aided by the four excellent musicians accompanying him on stage, the music channeled by the tight group was colorful, diverse and engaging.
Even though Lanegan began his musical career in the 1980s with grunge-rock group Screaming Trees, his solo material is much more diverse. His unique vocals, mixed with touches of alternative, contemporary electronica and even soft pop songs such as “Red Torn Heart,” resulted in a very original sound connecting to the past decade of music.
Seven of the night’s 21 songs were from his 2014 album Phantom Radio.
Not many artists can reach the age of 50 and still be relevant, original and daring while at the same time staying true to their early passions.
Most rely on their successes of the past. Not Lanegan, who continues to be prolific and fiery.
And the Israeli crowd was there to listen, even though Lanegan has already performed numerous times in Tel Aviv. Those are the fruits of an artist who builds a lasting relationship with fans, and keeps it engaging and new every time.
Lanegan did not speak much during the concert, but through the cheers of the crowd, his scarce “thank yous” felt warm and familiar, surely a sign of more to come.