2010 Shows with Isobel Campbell
Mark was in great voice and the band was very promising musically so all in all a very good night.
After a little waiting, we got to talk with the entire band, the Danish drummer and bassist who live in Arizona, the guitarist from Glasgow and Mark (who confirmed a solo album for next year) and Isobel (who doesn't know if they'll be back in Paris in December, I am an idiot for forgetting to ask if they would release the itunes and amazon exclusive on a physical release; if anyone could do ti if they have the chance...)
Isobel & Mark put on a lovely show at the Melkweg in Amsterdam last night (not as lovely as a solo show but I'll stop mentioning that.) The venue had a very nice atmosphere and the crowd was generally behaved. Willy Mason had a nice opening set and though the crowd wouldn't stop talking while he performed he still gave it his all and received a nice round of applause when he finished.
Isobel & Mark put on a tight set starting off with the material from Hawk. The crowd was dead quiet while they were playing but loud as hell as soon as they finished, this is probably the first time I've ever heard a crowd being shooshed by other members of the audience though it was done to a point where half the crowd condescendingly started shooshing and by the end of the show there was so much shooshing going on the crowd probably would have been quieter if it weren't for the original shooshing. That's an awkward sentence. Isobel did most of the crowd addressing (I didn't notice Mark saying anything but I could be wrong) but I couldn't hear 90% of what she said because she quiet and the crowd was loud and shooshing.
Mark left about half-way through the set sounding absolutely fantastic. Probably the best I've ever heard him but this would only be my 5th time seeing him (QOTSA, 2x Gutter Twins & Soulsavers) and Isobel's quieter band (that really seems to hold back, drummer in particular) allows for a more intimate vocal experience. Willy Mason came on and did three (I think) songs with Isobel and he really won me over, him & Isobel performing 'No Place to Fall' was wonderful and I'm going to stop hating on it when I listen to Hawk. When he left he probably got just as big of an applause as when Mark came back on stage. I don't think I was the only once he impressed. After that Isobel did a couple songs on her own. And I must say, she rocks a mean cello.
Mark came out for the last half of the set and naturally did the encore. They were still selling the Live in Australia cd's and Isobel & Mark both did the meet & greet/signing autograph thing afterword. Mark seemed strangely comfortable talking to a never ending line of people and always had a smile on his face, it was odd he must be gettiung used to it. I didn't have anything to sign so I just thanked Isobel for including Toronto on their next tour and told Mark the next time he did a solo album if he wanted to tour within a thousand miles of there that would be awesome. I doubt it worked.
All in all, great show, highlight's of the show: Wedding Dress. Above and beyond everything else. Great closer and I'm just glad to hear some solo material.
with Willy Mason:
Mark back again (woot!):
October 15th was the date. The Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, DC was the venue. I had been waiting four years for this concert. Since 2006 and the release of Ballad of the Broken Seas (their first album together) I have waited, impatiently at times, to see them together in concert. I have seen Lanegan in concert seven times in a variety of settings and styles. From stripped down acoustic shows with Greg Dulli, to production heavy shows with the Soulsavers, to hard rocking shows with the Gutter Twins. However, I still had not seen him with Isobel. I had seen reports and videos of their concerts throughout Europe over the years, and always thought that they would come over here. It didn’t happen with Ballad of the Broken Seas, and it didn’t happen with their 2008 follow-up Sunday at Devil Dirt.
I began to lose hope. I began to hear rumblings of another collaboration, that was to become Hawk. I was excited about the new album, but I didn’t think about a possible U.S. Tour. I assumed that they would do their usual European tour and be done with it. After all, Campbell is on a British label and not many people have heard of her, or Lanegan for that matter, in the U.S. It didn’t make that much sense to spend all the money sending them to the United States. However, I saw that they were having a U.S. tour. I still wasn’t convinced though. They had announced a few U.S. dates in 2008, but were ultimately canceled. I bought my ticket to the DC show a few days after they went on sale and I waited. The day finally came. On to the show!
I met up with about five friends and we got to the venue about 20 minutes before the opening act started. Willy Mason opened the show and set the tone with his solo Alternative Country set. Mason is a really talented performer who had several good songs. As much as I wanted to see Mark and Isobel, I was content with Mason singing as many songs as he wanted. He ended his set at about 945 and we waited for the main act. We waited some more. Finally, after about 30 minutes, the band came out. Finally, Isobel and Mark were taking the stage.
They started the set with the chilling “We Die and See Beauty Reign“. They sang a few songs from their newest record, Hawk, including the rollicking “You won’t Let Me Down Again“, the sultry “Come Undone“, and a great version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Snake Song“. They chose a few songs from Ballad of the Broken Seas including the title track complete with cello solo by Campbell. Lanegan sang the always chilling, “The Circus is Leaving Town“. He thanked the crowd and went off stage.
Willy Mason who provided vocals on the album came on stage again much to the crowd’s delight, as his opening set was very popular. He sang the other Townes Van Zandt cover on the album, “No Place to Fall“. Being a huge fan of Van Zandt, I was very excited. He also sang “Cool Water” and one of his own original compositions. He left the stage to great applause and Lanegan came back on stage to great applause. It should be pointed out Campbell was very adept at getting Lanegan to smile and speak on stage – a rarity.
They focused more on songs from 2008's Sunday at Devil Dirt. They sang “Salvation“, “Who Built the Road” and “Backburner“. The band went off stage to great applause, and after a minute or two they came back on stage for the encore. They started the familiar strings of “Revolver” from Ballad of the Broken Seas. They also sang “Do You Wanna (Come Walk With Me)“. But, for me the highlight came at the end, with a rocking version of Hank Williams, Sr.’s “Ramblin’ Man” that appeared on Ballad of the Broken Seas, and the Lanegan classic “Wedding Dress” that tore the house down.
I waited four years for that show. It was worth it.
Confessions of a Noise fiend – Music Review –
By: David Vanegas
However unlikely it seemed, the pairing of these two was an inspired idea. Lanegan’s voice is a dark and war-torn instrument, his exquisite delivery conjures visions of hard living and weariness. His golden voice is that of an ancient soul, the embodiment of a streetwise persona that draws a link between Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. Heck, he looks like a young Tom Waits. Campbell ’s material shares some musical elements with her former band, but it abandons any twee affectations and lays a stark foundation for Lanegan to let his smoky voice resound alongside Campbell ’s angelic chirp. While she wrote most of the material and played many of the accompanying instruments, she offers plenty of room to accommodate Lanegan’s talents. She gives him the lead in many of the songs, including the cover of Hank Williams’ “Rambling Man”. In the first track, “Deus Ibi Est”, the percussion stomps right in followed by Lanegan’s chilly, hoarse rasp which speaks of an inexorable fate brought upon him by unseen hands, while Campbell’s playful melody draws circles around him in the chorus. I’ve been hooked ever since.
The success of their collaboration has resulted in two more albums, “Sunday At Dirt Devil” (2008) and this year’s “Hawk”, which also includes collaborations from folk singer Willy Mason and a couple of Towns Van Zandt covers. Red Door NY attended the second of two New York dates back in October at the Williamsburg Hall Of Music. The show’s set list (pictured) was delightfully long. Isobel and Mark demonstrated great chemistry on stage. A nice moment occurred when, as one of the songs was ending, the two singers, perhaps having missed a cue, turn to each other to share a good laugh, being the one moment in the entire night in which Mark let down his guard and broke character. Mark held his own with serious and unflinching concentration, while lovely Isobel effortlessly irradiated girlish charm. She picked up the cello for a few numbers and sang a duet with guest Willy Mason.
I’m primarily an Isobel fan who got into Mark’s work through this collaboration. I went to the Chicago show by myself on a last minute whim, knowing I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t. With tickets less than $20, how could I resist? I knew from reading a bit about their other North American shows that they would put on a good performance, and I was hardly expecting Isobel and Mark by the end of the night to be gazing soulfully into each other’s eyes as many of the uninformed journalists seem to think they will be.
Willy Mason started bang on 10 p.m., maybe even a few minutes earlier. His voice was clear and pleasant, but while I enjoyed the songs at the time, they were unmemorable. Nice background music anyhow. The crowd was surprisingly quiet, although it was a bit sparse on the floor (I was in about the fourth row of standing people on Isobel’s side of the stage). However, it filled up a bit more when Mark and Isobel took the stage, although it never got oppressively crowded. I’ve never been to Lincoln Hall before, so I’m not sure how many people it can fit, plus I’m bad at estimating – maybe someone else can help out on that front.
Willy played maybe about half-an-hour. I didn’t really keep an eye on the time. Mark and Isobel came onstage about an hour after Willy, which was a bit annoying as all their equipment was set up already (it’s just Mason and his acoustic guitar for the opening act). Plus, Jim McCulloch (he’s the bald, Scottish guitarist who’s co-written some of the songs and been with them since “Ballad”) came out to fiddle with his guitar soon after Willy left the stage, so I’d hoped that they would soon be making an entrance.
Since I was alone (none of my friends are into either Isobel or Mark’s music) I was a bit bored. I don’t have a problem going to concerts by myself, but the standing around in silence isn’t any fun. I struck up a conversation with a nearby couple – hi Bob and Allison. They were Lanegan fans, but not die-hards.
Finally the band made it to the stage. They played the usual set. I didn’t keep track of the setlist, but it seemed very similar to what they’ve been playing on the NA and recent European tour. The crowd was respectful – I never really heard any talking, which would have been painfully obvious on the quieter numbers. Like in previous shows, Mark left halfway through so Willy could come back on and sing with Isobel for three songs (the two the from “Hawk” and one of his own). Then Isobel did the solo “Sunrise,” and then Mark rejoined her. They closed out with the usual encore. After waiting an hour for them to take the stage, we hardly waited two minutes for them to come back for the encore. I didn’t even have time to send a text message. The ended with “Wedding Dress,” as usual, and it was as fantastic as I’ve heard on bootlegs and YouTube.
For all that I was expecting Isobel and Mark to be statues during the performance, Isobel actually talked a lot more than I thought she would. When Willy was on singing with her, someone shouted out, “Why isn’t anyone smoking grass?” (Or something similar.) Isobel responded that lots of people were in Toronto (their show before Chicago) and that her bass player (one of the Norwegian Giant Sands guys) had wanted some, and had probably smoked some afterward. “I’m going to tell your mum,” she joked, but then backtracked. Apparently, the bassist has a cool mom who claims to be the first person in Norway to own a Bob Dylan record (so I guess she wouldn’t care that her kid smoked pot?). And some lady in the first row said that the Mason song Willy and Isobel sang on should have been on the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack, to which Isobel agreed (although I think she was just being polite as this lady was a bit weird). Also, earlier, someone shouted out, “Where’s your husband?” to the unmarried Campbell. “In the dungeon,” she laughed. Mark said a few mumbled words during the show, but I’m 99% sure they were directed to the crew, not the audience.
Even though many reviewers rail about the lack of interaction between the pair, it was interesting to see how they communicate in the slightest gestures – nodding, widening eyes, etc. – to indicate when a song should stop or start.
I had a great time. The songs were different enough
from the records so you didn’t feel like you could have just
stayed home and listened on iTunes. The backing band did a great job
and it didn’t feel like they were just going through the motions,
and I thought Isobel and Mark gave a lovely performance.
I enjoyed myself tremendously, standing a few feet from Mark Lanegan was the near religious experience it ought to be (and I really wasn’t trying to get that close, it just happened that way, lucky me) and the music and performances were powerful and energetic. Also I went alone, as is my wont, but made a couple of “show buddies”, Charlie and a fellow forum member who’s name I didn’t catch (Hi there!). We kept each other amused while we waited, and, thanks to Charlie’s height (a useful tall person, I like those!) and company, I scored Mark’s setlist and got it autographed by both Isobel and Mark after the show (I managed a half-intelligible expression of admiration when I approached Mark, even getting my mouth to open was an effort as I was so tired and we were kind of pouncing on him as he went to the tour bus).
Sadly, I don’t have much to say about Willy Mason beyond he has a nice voice. I wanted to like him, it wasn’t that, it’s just that he suffers from the same predicament that has affected pretty much every solo acoustic artist I’ve seen - they sound pretty monotonous.
Thankfully we didn’t have to wait terribly long for Mark and Isobel to take the stage (the amusement to be had from the drunk behind me wore off pretty quickly - and you know who you are, young man!). Both Mark and Isobel were pretty quiet at first, as far as banter (well, Mark’s only verbal contribution to banter the entire night was a “Thank you” before he left the stage for Willy to come back on). Watching the facial expressions and nonverbal communication that passed between them was a treat, they definitely have a shorthand worked out and seemed pretty attuned to one another. Isobel was actually quite sweet and adorable throughout the show. At one point a gentleman in the audience called out to her, “Isobel, you’re beautiful!” which prompted from her “Thank you, I feel … disgusting,” then she went on to explain she and the boys had just spent two days driving across North Dakota and Montana, she also apologized a couple of times during the set for being so tired.
Willy Mason was much more interesting when he came back out to sing with Isobel and the band, they performed a couple of duets from “Hawk” then one of his own songs, which was so much better with a band that I think Mr. Mason really should consider finding a backing band. Another highlight was during the encore, while performing “(Do You Wanna) Come Walk With Me” several audience members were singing along, so Isobel got the whole crowd to join in and led us encouragingly through a chorus, even pointing out that she was off key!
Mark seemed like he might have been a trifle tetchy at the start of the set, telling the sound person (?) his vocals were all over the place and tersely commanding “Fix it.” I was even too intimidated to try to take pictures of him until I’d seen him smile a couple of times. It didn’t help that I was right in his line of vision whenever he glanced down at his notebook, I know he wasn’t looking at me but I still felt like I should behave extra well! Mark did loosen up quite a bit, he was hard to photograph because he was never still - he kept swaying and moving to the music, and turning to shoot glances and occasionally grins at Isobel.
Musically, the band was incredibly tight and clearly
really enjoying themselves, local Jeff Fielder (I hope I don’t
have that wrong!) was quite fun to watch as he played. All of the
band was fun to watch, I just had a better view of Jeff. When I approached
Isobel after the show I nearly told her she should turn her vocals
up more, she was pretty easy to hear but she does, as on the albums,
seem to vocally defer to Mark, and sings under him, I love their voices
together and wouldn’t mind hearing her vocals turned up, but
I never can manage to get much out when I’m actually speaking
to someone like that so I just gushed how much I loved her voice and
enjoyed the show. It was entirely due to Charlie’s telling me
he was going to hang out to try to meet Mark and Isobel that I stayed,
I never would have had the nerve alone. There was no official meet
and greet, we (all of us faithful lurkers) got a chance to approach
Isobel when she came out to get something from the stage, she was
very sweet and obliging and I am very glad I stuck around. As I mentioned
earlier Charlie and I kind of pounced on Mark later as he exited the
club, again my thanks to Charlie (also for the use of his pen as I
forgot mine. What a lifesaver was Charlie!), I would never have had
the nerve to call out to Mark and ask for his autograph, I would have
just smiled at him as he walked by (it doesn’t always pay to
be shy). Mark was very gracious, also quite soft spoken. My only complaint
about the show was that it ended!
review by Christopher
I will preface this by saying: I really shouldn't
have drank so much before getting to Neumo's that night
The Columbia Club (not to be mistaken with the Columbia Halle), is a small venue located near the airport used by the Americans to defy the Russian blocus of Berlin, the building clearly was a place for pilots to relax.
Unusually the opening act, Harper Simon, son of Simon & Garfunkel's Simon, started at 9PM in front of a loud room which did not care much though his set was in my opinion quite clean.
Isobel and Mark made their way on stage at 10PM with
the two guitarists from the previous legs f the tour but with a new
Two days ago I was on the Mark & Isobel gig in Essen (Germany) and was quite satisfied with the concert. For me it was the first time to see Mark and Isobel togehter, before I "just" watched shows of QOTSA, Mark solo, Soulsavers and acoustic with Greg Dulli.
There were no big surpriese on the setlist. It seemed to be nearly the same setlist like on the Barbican CD which is mentioned in a couple of threads. Honestly I cannot remember the whole setlist by mind and order, but definitely there was no "Cool Water". Also Willy Mason didn´t join the show. The highlights of the show, which was joined by approximately 200 visitors, were "You won´t let me down", "Balad of the Broken Seas", "Time of the Season", "Back Burner", "Salvation", "Do you wanna come walk wit me","Ramblin Man" and as the final "Wedding dress". Personally I really enjoyed the Jeffrey Lee Pierce Cover "Free to walk".
The sound quality was usually quite good, just the micro of Isobel was a little bit to quite. In direct comparison to Mark it was sometimes quite difficult to understand her. So although I primary joined the show for Mark, I really appreciated the few solo songs of the lovely Isobel Campbell.
I mentioned before it was my first Mark & Isobel gig. Of course I allready know, that Mark is more or less shy on the stage and does not communicate a lot with the crowd. But it was quite a surprise for me, that Isobel even didn´t say one single word to the crowd. And the atmosphere was really nice, although the shows was not joined by many people. So I really think that Mark & Isobel harmonize really good togehther ;-).
The negative aspects of the show for were first, that Mark really didn´t seem to be in a quite good condition. He was really pale and didn´t seem very fresh. I have seen him in much healthier conditions before. Also I was disappointed, that the merchandise didn´t sell the "Barbican" and Soulsavers live CD´s. "Only" the Union Chapel and Melbourne gig were available.
My personal definitive highlight was to meet Mark shortly
after the show. He was signing CD´s and other stuff and was
available for photos. So I got 2 CD´s and a tour poster signed
and got 2 pictures with him. He was quite nice, but seemed again a
little bit shy. Nevertheless I am quite happy and proud for my souvenirs.
Can´t wait to visit the next Mark show!
ok, a very synthetic review about yesterday show.
by Alfonso www.myspace.com/oblivionsweet
We went from Bilbao to Santander on a windy Saturday evening to see Isobel & Mark play at this small festival on the 2nd day bill. One hour drive. We arrived at 8pm and realized how beautiful this venue is. We really enjoyed Emily Jane White's set (she played before Isobel & Mark). My wife met her and bought one of her CDs.
At 1am Isobel & Mark hit the stage alongside 2 guitar players, bass player and drummer. Since it was a seated venue, we were lucky enough to get good seats. They started with the first 2 songs of their new album “Hawk” and played for 75 min. Then they came back for a 15 min/4 song encore. The band gave a great performance and so did Isobel and Mark. I won’t post the set list as it was practically the same it’s been posted in the past reviews, with the addition of “Something To Believe”, from the Sunday At Devil Dirt album. Personal highlights were “You Won’t Let Me Down Again”, “The Circus Is Leaving Town” (one of Isobel’s best songs with Mark in top form), “Saturday’s Gone”, “Get Behind Me”, and Hank Williams’ classic “Ramblin Man” in the encore.
A quick story: both my wife and I play & sing in
a band together and after the show I gave Mark a copy of our latest
CD, “Black Sheep Serenade”, he seemed surprised as the
name of our band is Sweet Oblivion (but, as much as I love the Trees'
music, we don’t do grunge!). He smiled, thanked me for the “small
gift” and shaked hands. See you soon Mark!