It would be hard to find a better venue than the Teragram Ballroom near Downtown Los Angeles to see an artist like Mark Lanegan. Its domed ceiling perfectly amplifies his cobalt voice while giving fans an easy platform for viewing. Dark as an oceanic trench, his voice bounced and echoed through the Ballroom to a crowd of fans primarily donned in black clothing and tattoos. And though two openers preceded his 10:15 p.m. set time, the crowd was undoubtedly there for Lanegan and his band.
After two rather quick opening shows from Duke Garwood and Lyenn, the crowds began to fill into any and all available space in the Ballroom’s small yet comfortable central area. Fans plucked up good real estate along the perimeter where they could, using the walls as back support to rest weary legs tired from a full day’s work. When Mark Lanegan and his six man band took the stage promptly at 10:15, that fatigue seemed to fade away.
Without much hesitation or any introduction, Lanegan and the band went right into their first song, “Death’s Head Tattoo.” They cruised through this first track under blue ambient stage lights which felt like the perfect backdrop to Lanegan’s deep, oceanic vocals. Though the crowd gave a raucous applause after this first track, very few were dancing throughout its duration. One or two fans in the audience were bobbing along to the music as they played, but the majority stood transfixed on Lanegan’s figure and the voice it produced. But who could blame them? Standing at 6′ 2″, Lanegan is an impressive sight with a voice as deep and rich as worn leather.
From there, the band went through “The Gravedigger’s Song,” “Last One in the World,” and “No Bells on Sunday” before Lanegan said so much as a “thank you.” When he did finally address the crowd for a brief second, the applause was loud with plenty of hooting and hollering.
As the evening drifted by, Lanegan and his band played song after song with the mood lights reacting to the each song’s tempo. Slower songs like “Deepest Shade” or “Ode to Sad Disco” featured the band drenched in a blue hue, while more uptempo tracks like “Nocturne” and “Beehive” saw them shrouded in red. There were even a few members of the audience dancing as the set went on and the alcohol set in.
By the end of the evening, the crowd seemed just to be getting into their groove and were nowhere near satisfied when Lanegan and crew walked off the stage after an invigorating rendition of “Methamphetamine Blues.” The cheers felt almost uncharacteristic of the rather tame crowd, but they were a group of true blue fans, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected. As anyone could have guessed with such a proper show of love from the crowd, Lanegan strolled his towering figure back to the mic and delivered a stirring encore performance. He and his band rolled through “One Way Street,” “The Killing Season” with its impressive yet unexpected synths and a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
It was nearly midnight when Lanegan walked off stage for his final time, and the main lights in the Ballroom flicked on. Though the crowd seemed tired from a long day of work, they were undoubtedly excited to catch a glimpse of an artist like Lanegan gracing the stage at the Ballroom.