Saturday, October 16, 2010

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Willy Mason -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Oct 15 2010

Willy Mason - Perhaps a night of quiet music is in order after last night's high energy show at the DC9 and the disastrous aftermath. We begin with one man, a microphone and an acoustic guitar. The music is introspective folk. He plays with finger picks which creates a sharp sound, which he varies nicely with light strums to sharp dynamic thrusts. Mason's voice is the first of two rich male voices tonight, although deep, he is not as bass heavy as Lanegan. He had some nice songs including a few that really stood out. He was able to create some nice tension and deep moods. A high-quality set this was.

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - I have seen Lanegan with Greg Dulli once and have bought some Campbell solo records and a couple of their duets, so I knew what to expect tonight. They came out with a drummer, a bass player who had both an electric stand-up and a strap on, a guitarist and a guitarist/keyboardist. Campbell played some cello as well. The vocals are the key as the duo sing well together with an aching distant folk feeling. The sound was not working on stage as Campbell stopped the third song to clear up some issues with her voice feeding back. I did not think it much better in the club as her voice was too quiet in the mix, even though nothing was too loud. The club was not quite sold out, but more full than I expected. It was hard to gauge the reaction as the music is quite somber and sadly tonight, just a little too dreary. I find it a little too hard to judge based on the effects of the previous night on my mood tonight, but I left early feeling that this live set was just not working very well. I think their music is excellent, but perhaps best suited to a quiet night at home with the cat.

Quote of the night: "I got my pictures back from South Africa. They turned out pretty well." Yes, thanks to the person standing behind me for sharing that essential piece of wisdom during the middle of one of Mason's more thoughtful songs.  If I can also speak for the person she was talking to, I believe we could not have waited for that information until after the set.

DC9 Update: I don't think anyone really needs me doing much commentary here. Already we have "learned" that professionally trained nice guys/vigilante mobsters committed aggravated assault/2nd degree murder on a violent drunk/happy social drinker. This is why I limit my news intake and prefer to read about things well after they are over and maybe, just maybe some of it will make sense. But I will be following this one as it has hit so close to home.

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