Posts Tagged ‘greg dulli’

Album Review: Imitations by Mark Lanegan

November 25, 2013

20131125-153149.jpg After years of drought between solo albums, Mark
Lanegan finally unearthed his solo career in 2012 with the release of “Blues
Funeral
.” He followed up later in the year with a collaboration with guitarist Duke Garwood for the haunting “Black Pudding.” September 2013 brought Mark to the return to his solo records of past years with a stripped down band (most songs just have a single guitar) in an album of cover songs called
Imitations.””Black Pudding” offered the same tone, but it was more of a collaboration and not a true solo album. The album also marks the return of former collaborators – Mike Johnson, who provided the guitar for most of Mark’s early solo albums, and former Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel.

The album starts off with the slow-paced “Flatlands,” and it only varies from the tempo it sets occasionally. I the album, he covers Greg Dulli, Nick Cave, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, and others. It really shows the wide-range of influences that have led to a career spanning four decades. One particular standout for me is a tremendous version of Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice.” He takes the former James Bond title track, and makes it his own by providing his trademark grizzled vocals. It’s album is a departure from the previous two Lanegan solo albums. “Bubblegum” and “Blues Funeral” had a full band (the artist credited was the Mark Lanegan Band) and took a more traditional rock approach, while still providing haunting songs that defined his earlier work. When asked why he made “Imitations” he replied:

When I was a kid in the late sixties and early seventies, my parents and their friends would play the records of Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, music with string arrangements and men singing songs that sounded sad whether they were or not. At home my folks were also listening to country music, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Vern Gosdin were some of our favorites. For a long time I’ve wanted to make a record that gave me the same feeling those old records did, using some of the same tunes I loved as a kid and some that I’ve loved as I have gotten older. This record is it. Imitations.

If you like Mark Lanegan, you’ll loves this album. Even if you don’t like him, there are certain songs you can pick out and really enjoy. The album is very accessible to everyone, and deserves a place in your record collection.

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An Evening with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan

February 11, 2009

February 10, 2009 at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA will go down as one of the concerts where all who attended will count themselves as lucky. The concert was billed as “An Evening with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan.” They promised a stripped down acoustic setting featuring songs that neither of them have performed in years. It did not disappoint. In fact, it far exceeded my already high expectations. At this point, I should point out that the opening act – Happy Chichester – was really good. Fans at the Troubadour were demanding that he play more songs when he finished his set.

Photo by: Nancy Paulikas Used with permission

Photo by: Nancy Paulikas. Used with permission

After the opening act, chairs were set up and Greg Dulli, Mark Lanegan, and Dave Rosser walked out. Dave and Greg, carrying guitars, Mark with his signature black shirt and disheveled hair. They started the evening with a couple Gutter Twins tunes – “The Body”, “All God’s Children,” and “The Stations.” They then moved to their extensive back catalog. Greg first tore the house down with the Afghan Whigs tune “If I Were Going.” After he was done he said:

Mark sees that and raises me

Mark raised him indeed with an absolutely incredible rendition of the Screaming Trees classic “Sworn and Broken.”

Greg moved to the keyboard and they sang “We Have Met Before” from the Gutter Twins’ EP “Adorata.” Mark followed with a cover of “Creeping Coastline of Lights” and his own “Resurrection Song” I really wish I could say that the Troub was silent during the downbeats of these songs, but there was plenty of chatter. Way too much chatter for such a great concert. Now it was Greg’s turn and he threw in “The Twlilte Kid” and “The Lure Would Prove Too Much” in this seeming game of one-upmanship by the two artists that have reached “cult status,” but as Dulli pointed out:

Cult status isn’t financially lucrative. Look at the cars we drive. Thank God for Europe

It was Mark’s turn with “Kimiko’s Dream House”. Greg followed with “Summer’s Kiss” and “King Only”. Mark answered that call with “Sunrise” and “The River Rise” Both blew me away as I am a huge fan of the album “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost” from which both songs appear. The show ended with “Sunset Machine” and “In a Heavenly Way.” The latter song was absolutely incredible.

After a few minutes of applause they came out for an encore that included “Candy Cane Crawl” and “One Hundred Days” If there is anything that can make “One Hundred Days” better it was most definitely Petra Hayden’s violin. They also did “Tennessee Waltz.” Dave Rosser sang that song and whenever he releases a CD, I will be first in line to get it. Amazing musician. They ended the show with “All I Have to Do is Dream” and Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You.”

Probably my favorite aspect of the show was the relaxed nature and the back and forth banter. They were putting themselves out there with the stripped down set and could not hide behind the rock, or pyro. It is something that is very rare in music today and something that is desperately needed. Instead of creating “bands” that music execs think will sell records and hide their lack of talent behind studio tricks and pyro, why don’t they sign people with talent? The last time they did the record company made more money then they ever had before and they haven’t made that much since. Why doesn’t someone put 2 and 2 together?

Todd Thurman

Gutter Twins Part Deux

November 9, 2008

The Gutter Twins Hit the City on November 7th, so I took the Metro over to the Black Cat club in Northwest DC to see them. Doors opened up at 9:00, and I got there around 9:45. When I got there the scene was pretty empty. I made my way to the front of the stage and settled in for the show.

Afterhours started playing at around 10. For those who do not know of the Italian band, get to know them. They are really good. They started of the night with a cover of “My Time (Has Come)”  They hit us hard with their songs and never let up. It was truly the best opening act I have ever seen. They could headline any other venue, just not when the Gutter Twins are on the same bill.

Afterhours ended at around 1105 and the roadies started to tear down their stuff and get ready for the Gutter Twins. They laid out the setlists

After a few more minutes, the band finally came out and came out rocking with “Idle Hands”. “Seven Stories Underground” was among many highlights as Mark’s vocals seemed to be in top form. the next went to 2004’s hit single “Hit the City” and it was an awe inspiring performance. For “Hard Time Killing Floor,” “Bete Noire” and “Down the Line” Greg Dulli came over rand sat at the Rhodes Piano and the Keyboard which were about three inches from my face, so that was cool.

No zoom was used in that photo. They slowed it way down for “St. James Infirmary Blues”, and let me tell you, when Lanegan sings it, you can feel it. Here is a sampling of the kind of intensity he brings to the table.

The set was a good mix of stuff off of “Saturnalia“, covers, and stuff from their EP “Adorata“. That was really good for me because I have not heard anything off of “Adorata” because it’s an electronic only release and I don’t like not having a physical copy of the records. I enjoyed the songs so much I almost wanted to buy it. I’m not going to until I see a physical copy though.

The highlight of the night, for me, came at the end of the set. “Front Street” was the song. It was Greg Dulli’s first song as a member of “The Gutter Twins” and I know how proud of it he is. He started to sing it and the crowd quickly joined in. By the end of it, he had trouble singing over the crowd and was putting everything he had left into this song. Really amazing. Really cool to be in a place that enjoys music as opposed to the hipster LA scene.

The band went offstage and I had flashbacks to the Avalon concert when they did not come back. I knew this would be different though because we were really into the show and we wanted more. The band was happy to oblige and after no more than two minutes, came back on stage. Mark sang a chilling version of “I Was in Love With You” and we were also joined by the lead singer of Afterhours on keyboards. They continued with “Methamphetamine Blues”. That also rocked the house down. Fittingly, they finished the night with the down-trodden “Number 9”. A somber song that capped off the evening perfectly.

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Gutter Twins Concert – Hollywood, CA

April 9, 2008

On a cold, rainy night, a cold, dark band came on stage. OK, so it wasn’t that cold, and it was barely drizzling, but the ambiance of the night seemed just right for the Gutter Twins (nee Greg Dulli, the Afghan Whigs, and Mark Lanegan, the Screaming Trees). I got to the Avalon (after spending $25 to park… that’s not a typo) about 9:20 or so, just in time to hear a number of really good songs from Great Northern. They worked hard and the crowd seemed to be getting into it. My anticipation grew as the roadies were tearing down the Great Northern gear and setting up the Gutter Twins set. After a long, drawn out process, the full band finally appeared.

They started off heavy singing “The Stations.” I, as well as others in my section, seemed to be really into it. They continued with “All God’s Children” and “All Misery/Flowers.” One of the few songs that were song that were not on the album was “Live With Me,” which appeared on the Twilight Singers Stitch in Time EP. They also played a breathtaking version of the St. James Infirmary blues made famous by many including jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong and more recently, Isobel Campbell. The slow, brooding nature of the Gutter Twins’ vision fit that song really well.

Highlights of the night, for me, included “Seven Stories Underground” and “Bete Noire.” Dulli seemed to be frustrated with the audience when he asked for participation and got a very timid response from the hipster LA scene, at one point asking, “You guys still out there?” I was sitting almost directly in front of Jeff Klein playing keyboards. What a joy to watch. Some songs playing keys, some guitar, some playing his recorded loops from the laptop, all while smoking a cigarette. He really is an underrated and under appreciated musical talent. After Dulli introduced the band, Lanegan uttered the only non-singing words he uttered all night – “This is Greg Dulli.

Dulli closed the set with an amazing version of “Front Street” that blew me away. The band went offstage, to what seemed to me, great applause. The band went backstage. The applause lasted a few minutes, it seemed, and all of a sudden, the lights came on and the roadies started dismantling. I did not want to believe it, but then the curtain came down. There would be no encore tonight. There is a difference between going to a Mark Lanegan concert and a Greg Dulli concert. Dulli wanted the crowd to clap, and move and show emotions, and the crowd reacted like they were at a Lanegan concert, quietly listening to incredible songs. Still, even with no encore, it was a great show, packed out at the legendary Palace Theatre, now the Avalon venue.

Todd

The Soulsavers feat. Mark Lanegan

March 2, 2008

On Sunday night, December 2nd, I had the privilege of going to this amazing concert. The night I had been waiting over a year for had finally come to pass. The show started with the band Spain playing the opening act. They were good, but I could not wait for them to be over because I, and the rest of the packed Troubadour, knew that the Soulsavers were coming on next. For those who do not know the Soulsavers, let me tell you who they are. The Soulsavers are a British electronica/hip hop/gospel band. They are incredibly talented musicians who have received overwhelming critical acclaim for their first release, Tough Guys Don’t Dance (2003) as well as their newest CD It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land (2007). They received a lot of notoriety for their second album because, not only is a phenomenal album, but also because of Mark Lanegan’s contribution. Mark wrote and sang on most of the album. Mark is the kind of musician that brings instant credibility to any label he is on, or any band that he sings with and the Soulsavers are no exception, even though they are very good on their own.

They started off the night with a rocking version of the instrumental “Ask The Dust” that was awesome. When that song was completed, he man himself, Mark Lanegan, walked out and began to sing “Ghosts of You and Me”. They played Lanegan’s cover of Junior Kimborough’s “All Night Long” and then went back to their own “Paper Money”. The gospel singers they used for backup were simply amazing. Instead of doing all their own stuff, the band took risks and were rewarded greatly when they covered “Effigy”, “Codeine”, and “Feels So Good”. The song, “Spiritual” (written by vocalist Josh Haden who appeared on their first CD, “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”) really took the crowd into another world as Lanegan, desperate for companionship, cried out to Jesus to help him. Really powerful. They even spliced in Lee Hazelwood’s “Some Velvet Morning” to their own “Cabin Fever”. “Cabin Fever” is the only song they played from “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”.

After “Cabin Fever” the band walked off stage only to come back out a minute later to blow us away with the lead single off “It’s Not How You Fall, It’s the Way You Land”, “Revival“. they ended the show with a gospel version of “Midnight Special”. I pity the man who has not heard a gospel version of “Midnight Special”. It was a great way to end the show. The show was just amazing. The band was extremely tight and the musicianship was outstanding. Nothing like being five feet away from your favorite musician.

Todd

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