Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan @ Neumos (10/26/10)

Beth and I saw six shows in seven nights.  We started off with Belle & Sebastian and then moved on to Cat Power and the Vaselines and She & Him and Ida.  Then we took a day off for travel before finishing up our tour with Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan at Neumos.

Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t really care anymore, do you?  Did you ever?  I enjoyed this show, but Beth got sleepy and bored fairly early on and we actually left before the show was over.  I don’t think I’ve done that since 1997.  And you know what, I didn’t even mind.

It was hot and loud and super-crowded and the sound wasn’t even very good.  Isobel Campbell’s mic was turned way down and her vocal parts were hard to hear over the band and Mark Lanegan.  The venue sort of treated the show like it was a Lanegan solo performance…even when he wandered off the stage after nine songs and turned his vocal duties over to the opening act, Willy Mason.  Willy and Isobel performed three songs and sounded good together.  Then Willy left the stage and Isobel took her turn in the spotlight.  She started off with “To Hell & Back Again” and it was probably the all-time worst sound mix I’ve ever heard in a live setting.  It sounded like she was singing with a thick blanket wrapped around her head…under water…into a broken microphone.  I guess it would have to be a special waterproof microphone for that comparison to hold true, but you get the idea.  Bad sound.  “Saturday’s Gone” sounded much better, but it was still off.  We left.  If Mark Lanegan himself didn’t think the show was worth sticking around for, why should we?

Here’s the setlist up until we left:

Isobel & Mark: We Die and See Beauty Reign/You Won’t Let Me Down Again/Come Undone/Snake Song (Townes Van Zandt)/Who Built the Road/Free to Walk (Jeffrey Lee Pierce)/Honey Child, What Can I Do?/Ballad of the Broken Seas/The Circus is Leaving Town

Isobel & Willy: No Place to Fall (Townes Van Zandt)/Cool Water/I Wish That I Knew How to Say Goodbye (Willy Mason)

Isobel: To Hell & Back Again/Saturday’s Gone

I’m pretty sure Mark Lanegan eventually came back out to reap the fawning adoration of his local fanbase, but we weren’t there to see it.  Blah, blah, blah.

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15 Responses to Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan @ Neumos (10/26/10)

  1. crankypants says:

    He probably left to smoke a pack of cigarettes to keep his voice raspy.

  2. I’m not familiar with the artists, but if you’re talking about the former Crystal Ballroom where I saw the Buzzcocks, that venue is a dive. Concrete box with terrible acoustics. I hated the crowd in there too, though it was a different band, different kind of audience. (It made me hate Seattle punks.)

    Too bad. I hope you didn’t pay a lot for the tickets.

    • M-----l says:

      I don’t know anything about the Crystal Ballroom. The venue has been called Neumos during the three years I’ve been visiting Seattle. I’m not sure what was going on with the sound. Mark Lanegan and Willy Mason sounded good, but Isobel Campbell was murky all night long. She’s got a delicate voice and it just wasn’t coming through very well.

      (Isobel Campbell is a Scottish singer and cellist who used to be in Belle & Sebastian. Mark Lanegan was the frontman for 90s grungey-types, Screaming Trees. He’s worked with just about everybody since then. He’s sort of a vocal gun-for-hire.)

      • I did a little googling, and it is the same place, different name. It was a disco back in the 70s, then became a venue for indie bands and some national acts back when I was an undergrad. I went up there back before Seattle became cool, and it was not fun. Everyone was drunk and so surly the band almost walked off the stage. It took 20 years before I would go back again.

        • M-----l says:

          There were some loud talkers upstairs, but the crowd for this show was mostly a polite one. It was a strange combination, though. There were twee Belle & Sebastian fans mingling with grunge casualties clearly there for Lanegan.

  3. homebody says:

    I wish we had seen this show first in the series. Thanks for being so accommodating about leaving early. The extremely packed crowd and lack of seating and hydration made for a very uncomfortable viewing situation. I guess we should have gone to see Isobel Campbell at the Sonic Boom in-store.

    • M-----l says:

      At this point in our tour, I think the in-store probably would’ve been a better way to see Isobel Campbell. I don’t think Mark Lanegan was scheduled for that, though. I enjoyed seeing him. I think Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan are so much better than either of them apart.

  4. homebody says:

    Unrelated to this post: I can no longer open the ba-ba post – if it doesn’t freeze my browser altogether it takes something like seven minutes to open – so I can’t check if you already have a ba-ba song on the list. Would you please create a new ba-ba post with the running list, to make it easier for contributors to offer you new, unduplicated ba-ba songs? Thanks for considering it.

    • M-----l says:

      I noticed that when I was out for my visit. The post is almost 900 songs long and has over 400 comments. It’s probably too big for your browser or connection or something. It still works fine for me here.

      I will see if I can put together something that will work for you, but I’m not sure how to do that. If my second post has the running list, wouldn’t it probably also freeze your browser?

  5. Pingback: Pictures that should have gone with the concert reviews I recently wrote… | Outgoing Signals

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