Mark Lanegan, ’90s legend and now venerated cult hero for his dark, poetic rock, visited the Teragram Ballroom on Monday night, where he performed a 20-song set spanning his career. Lanegan first came into the limelight in 1984 when he formed Screaming Trees during the birth of Seattle grunge and angsty nocturne. Since then, he has been a steady presence, collaborating with Layne Staley, Queens of the Stone Age, the Gutter Twins, PJ Harvey, Isobel Campbell, Warpaint and Massive Attack, to name a few. Having just released his 10th solo album, “Gargoyle,” in April, he opened his set with “Death’s Head Tattoo” from the new record.
Lanegan stood gripping the microphone with a foot on the base, barely moving except to look slightly left or right. While his band performed around him with animation, Lanegan remained an almost statuesque figure of menacing narration in the middle, making it clear that it’s better the devil you know than the one you don’t. He said very little between songs and instead focused on stripping his audience down to their most attentive state with his richly strained baritone. Some of his fan favorites were “The Gravedigger’s Song,” “Hit the City,” “One Hundred Days” and main-set-closer “Methamphetamine Blues.” Cutting through spotlights, thick smoke, and deep hues, Lanegan and his band filled the space with the brooding sounds of a man whose catalog still seems to fly under the radar despite its enigmatic draw.
After 17 tracks, the band left, then re-emerged for a three-song encore where fans were especially in awe of Lanegan’s passionate vocal grit during the ’90s-indebted and electro-textured “The Killing Season” from 2014’s “Phantom Radio.” He ended the evening with a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Photos by Michelle Shiers