Live Review: Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - Union Chapel, London 05/10/2018


In support of their second album, With Animals, that was released in July, Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood brought their moody incantations to Union Chapel. Untypical of a Friday night, other nocturnal creatures channeled their energy into a collective stranger seance, instead of the regular pursuit of social debauchery in order to erase the memories of the past week.

As a collective, vocalist Mark Lanegan and multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood create music that intertwines with the creatures that go bump in the night. Their otherworldly, and at times mystical meanderings on life, draw a certain kind of crowd and what better setting for them, then a chapel in the heart of London. Support for the evening was Lyenn, who’s sultry haunting jazz, created the gateway to opening the portal to the moody world of Lanegan and Garwood. The first set of the performance focused on songs from their first album, Black Pudding, which was released in 2013. Garwood entered the stage first, with an ethereal guitar solo that had a meditative effect, almost like listening to a gong bath. Lanegan then followed, with a tambourine in tow and they opened with ‘Pentacostal’. The set-up of the stage allowed Garwood to effortlessly switch between instruments, such as the guitar, oboe and keyboard. 

Bathed in red light that created an atmosphere of serenading the devil as you ride through the desert in search of your soul, Lanegan and Garwood played ‘Mescalita’ and ‘Sphinx’ before the other musicians left the stage for the two to perform as one. ‘Last Rung’ and ‘Driver’ solidified the pair as a duo that cannot be completely defined. It was fascinating to watch, as there is barely any communication between them, except for the occasional side glance – it’s as if there is an understanding between their body language. In contrast to the studio version, ‘Death Rides a White Horse’ was a much more dramatic effect than I was expecting. To end this part of the evening, the pair finished with ‘Cold Molly’ and ‘Shade of the Sun.’ If it generally seems that the pair are searching for deliverance within their songs, it is them that deliver religious intervention, in ‘Thank You’ which saw Lanegan and Garwood using violin bows to play an upright guitar, which causes a harrowing sound – something that Sigur Ros often use in their performances.

After a short interlude, Lanegan and Garwood took to the stage to perform songs from their latest release, ‘With Animals’. They started off with the two moodier songs ‘Save Me’ and ‘Feast to Famine’. The marriage of pre-programmed synth beats with the distant sounding guitar, led to a really interesting dissonance that resonated around the chapel. With a shift in body language, Lanegan seemed to be slightly more warmed up by the time it came to playing ‘L.A Blue’, which further solidified in my mind, the similarities that I see between Lanegan and Johnny Cash – if only Johnny Cash was gothic and suave. Despite being famed for his gravelly baritone, that must only come from smoking multiple packs of cigarettes a day, ‘Scarlett’ showcased a vulnerability which came out from Lanegan using his higher range, which was replicated in the way he used his microphone; pushing and pulling at it, depending on the note.

‘Lonesome Infidel’ sounded like an improper church hymn that brought some humour to the crowd as Lanegan and Garwood ended the song in a whistle that occasionally lost its way, though feeling like a campfire treat. ‘With Animals’, ‘Ghost Stories’ and ‘One Way Glass’ closed out their set in a subtle ghostly tone. There is a dark mood that lingers, rife, throughout the chapel, but it is one that is temporarily hidden by the presence of the creators. After disappearing from the stage for a few moments, the pair came back for an encore of Lanegan’s melancholic drawl in, ‘I Am the Wolf’ and the more upbeat meanderings of Garwood’s ‘Burning Seas’, which was interesting, as the performance felt almost like an improvisation with the pair being more interactive than throughout the entire show, looking at each other for the cue to indiscernible lyrics.