Mark Lanegan Band Leadmill, Sheffield, 30/11/2004

Wed 1st December 2004

Support from Nick Oliveri


I've never understood why 90% of the population want to be guitarists - the bass is a far cooler instrument, and therefore bass players, by association, are far cooler than guitarists. Tonight there is a guy on stage who I would call as my first and only witness should I need to prove this point. Not only has he played in some of the finest bands on the planet (including Kyuss, The Dwarves, Queens of the Stone Age, Masters of Reality and his own band, Mondo Generator, for those uninformed souls out there), but tonight he is on stage just as him self singing songs he wrote, just him and an acoustic guitar - well that is until he switches to an electric one and his backing band come on stage. Now just to add to my earlier point: his backing band are Winnebago Deal. Now you show me anyone else who can match all that. This man of course is Nick Oliveri, a very drunk one. Blasting through his songs on a two acoustic, two electric (rinse lather repeat) format you can see proper passion in this performance. He literally attacks his acoustic while screaming lyrics such as 'I want you to die'. However, the performance is marred ever so slightly by the technical problems (he couldn't find his amp volume) and some alcohol fuelled moments of 'what the hell do I do next'. Having said that, he's on fire, the crowd love it and that's all that matters.

Next up, Mark Lanegan... and who is that I see on second guitar? Ah it's Mr Oliveri again (mark as evidence No. 806). Also with him are a full backing band, most memorable being the main guitarist, who looks like a some one Disney would cast as the dog man in their next family film, and the keyboard / samples guy, who I know I recognise but for the life of me can't put a name to. There is little you can say about Mark Lanegan other than that he is a legend and an easy contender for the more rock Johnny Cash. Having cut his teeth in The Screaming Trees, he went solo, worked with Queens of the Stone Age and then went solo again, along with many guest spots... if you want that 90-a-day vocal sound then he's your man. Tonight he plays mainly material from recent releases Bubblegum and Methamphetamine Blues to get the crowd warmed up then starts slipping in some older stuff, some Trees stuff and was that a Queens cover in there too? Before bringing it all back with more new stuff and walking off stage to leave his band to a 10 minute jam that ranged from the blues through to Ramones-esque punk and back to balls to the wall rock and roll. Every single one of the last 45/50 minutes has been mind blowingly good - I like all sorts of music, but this just shows that there is no substitute for a fine voice and excellent song writing.

Unfortunately the Leadmill has a club night on tonight and were kicked out at 10pm on the dot. Still it's been a fantastic night and I can catch the last tram home... bargain.


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