Mark Lanegan and Co. Save Some Souls

Now that ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan has becomerock’s new solemn soul a la Johnny Cash, it’s like watching anundertaker sing songs about Jesus, of which there was no shortage lastnight (Nov. 27) at New York’s Gramercy Theater. Debuting the first setof their U.S. tour, the British production team — featuring leaderRich Machin (sans his other half Ian Glover), guitarists Steve Gullickand Richard Warren, Spiritualized drummer Kevin Bales, bassist MattStravick, and gospel singers Wendy Rose and Carmen Smart — supportedLanegan in promotion of their latest release, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land.

Thehour-long show, boosted by a sprinkling of throwback psych and classicrock covers such as CCR’s “Effigy,” Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Codine,” andSpacemen 3’s “Feel So Good,” included only one non-sung word sharedwith the audience — Lanegan’s ‘thank you,’ as he walked off stage. Buteach cover took Lanegan into his impenetrable, baritone concentration.He may have seemed like an inanimate statue up there, but there’s purepain in those vocals.

As for the It’s Not How Far…cuts, Machin kept the live interpretation verbatim to the record,tinkering with sounds behind a stack of amps, when not playing keys orlooping guitar riffs. Standouts included the sitar slathered “Jesus ofNothing,” a percussion-heavy rendition of “Ask the Dust,” and the Grey’s Anatomy hit, “Revival,” which saw some fans spreading their arms open as if Lanegan was some deity of soul.

BassistMatt Stravick, who caught up with afterward to talk about somefirst-show-of-the-tour sentiments, explained that Rich and the bandwere a little “nervous” beforehand, but the feeling was quashed withLanegan’s post-show gratitude. “When Mark says ‘thank you,’ you knowyou’ve done something right.”

We asked: It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land,the new Soulsavers album, gets us thinking about some of music’s mostnotorious fall from graces a la Axl Rose. Do you have a favorite artistthat tripped their way out of your life?


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