Show fails to live up to great expectations

Howard Haigh
Howard Haigh

IT wasn’t that Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell’s show at Lancaster Library last Wednesday night was bad, it just didn’t do anything for me.

Technically, the two veteran musicians were excellent, with not a note out of place and Lanegan’s trademark gravelly voice doing its job against the backdrop of Campbell’s treacley words.

Their band were technically good too.

I attended on the strength of Lanegan having put out some strong sounds in the past, most notably with the Screaming Trees, especially their 1996 album Dust, his involvement with Queens of the Stone Age, and a great one song collaboration with UNKLE, but there was none of that grit here.

There was not one “hello Lancaster” from either of them, not one quip that it was a novelty for higher beings such as they to be performing in a library in the north of England, not even a “thanks guys”.

It was almost like we, the audience, weren’t even there – but maybe they were just shy.Anyway, there was only so much slow head nodding I could take, the set was extremely folk-tinged but not in an upbeat way, and when Campbell started whistling into the microphone, I went out for an extended though not much needed fag break.

In last week’s column – “Last night’s library gig looked like a winner” I stuck my neck out and said that the gig would probably be a blinder.

So I’ll wind it back in now, as I have to say there was nothing blinding about it at all. Regardless, I still maintain that this is another fantastic coup for Lancaster, especially during a period where the city’s music scene seems to be pretty quiet, and another triumph for organiser Stewart Parsons, who has plenty more surprises up his sleeve, as I’ve been reliably informed. Lancaster Library welcomes post hardcore band We Are The Ocean on Sunday. Tickets are £7 and doors open at 8pm.

See the Lancaster Guardian (21-07-11) for full story.