Exuding darkness in just about every way possible, Mark Lanegan put fans in complete awe last Sunday at the El Rey Theatre. From the dark stage lighting, to his signature haunting vocals and even his esoteric mannerisms — there was a murky cloud hanging over the stage at all times. It was as though Lanegan had fans in a blissful state of catatonia as he sung his lyrical genius to the crowd.
Touring in celebration of his ninth release under his own name, his 20th if you include his collaborations, and close to his 50th if you include his guest appearances — Lanegan’s new record Phantom Radio was just released on October 21. With just the strength of his voice, fans were infatuated with Lanegan. Even though he didn’t really move much around the stage, he still commanded the attention of the El Rey. His stage presence was powerful like that of a wise and calm night owl, mystically feeding off the energy around him. Fans seemed quite enamoured with the songs from Lanegan’s Phantom Radio, especially the eerie post-punk track, “Floor Of The Ocean”. One goth girl in particular seemed to be floating on cloud 9 as she happily (or drunkenly) swayed to the beat of her own tune. Her dance was strange, and totally not in tune with what Lanegran was singing, but it didn’t matter, she along with the entire audience were being serenaded by the dark lullabies of Mark Lanegan.
Opening up for Mark Lanegan was Lyenn, from Brussels. Delivering the first dose of sullen vibes for the evening, Lyenn’s songs were slow-moving but with a heavy sense of urgency. Like a thorn piercing your skin, you could feel the emotion in his singing. His last song was hauntingly beautiful when he belted out screams of anguish.
Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss
Following Lyenn were the quirky duo Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss. There was nothing dark or enigmatic about these two. The crowd was not sure if they were a comedy act or proper musicians as where between songs the vocalist seemed kinda wacky and telling jokes that did not make too much sense, however fun none the less. Those a bit confused probably weren’t aware of their musical resumes: vocalist Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag) and multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks, the Weirdos, Joe Strummer). Their music as a duo is nothing like their predecessor projects.
Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss
Wheeler would engage with the audience and just say random shit to people. He came out wearing a suit with a yellow ruffled shirt and he then took off his jacket to reveal another jacket in the style of one of those Mexican blankets that had been turned into a suit jacket. Despite the comedic tendencies, Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss banged out some epic music full of old timey sounds drenched in alt folk, ragtime blues and Americana. There was never a dull moment with these two.
Check out our photos below of Mark Lanegan Band, Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss and Lyenn.
Photography: Wes Marsala