LAUDED in Scotland and beyond for his collaborations with former Belle & Sebastian singer Isobel Campbell, Mark Lanegan’s diverse alliances with a broad array of artists have cemented the former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age man’s cult status.
Yet with Blues Funeral, his first solo record since 2004, he’s revealed just how catholic his tastes and repertoire have become, to the extent that he’s dabbling with electronica –last night’s highlight is the startling Ode To Sad Disco, bleak as ever yet unquestionably danceable.
Opening with the creepy, apocalyptic Gravedigger’s Song, Lanegan’s trademark gravelly rasp and lyrical trawl through addiction, sorrow and grinding blues sustain the show virtually to the end, punkier and heavier rock interludes affording respite from the grey dirge the set ultimately becomes.
Scarcely uttering a word between songs, the imposing American is nevertheless a charismatic figure, capable of loosing emotion when he has to, as on the desperately imploring Sleep With Me. Similarly, the stunning Resurrection Song betrays a spiritual quality, his baritone growl and the guitar downright eerie as he gives in to a gospel state of abandon.
The deliberate beat of St Louis Elegy suits his sluggish vocal as the instrumentation behind him swells to fill the room, but by the time he closes with the extended spectacle of synths that is Tiny Grain Of Truth, the elegiac atmosphere is becoming deadening. That said, the majestically rough Methamphetamine Blues then drags the encore kicking and howling to a finish.