Masters of Reality
December 1, 2001 - University, Manchester [UK]


Band: Chris Goss, Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Leamy


Mark Lanegan, Masters of Reality, Anyone
MDH, Manchester - Saturday, December 1, 2001
Mark Lanegan sleepwalks through a bluesy set for the K!-Fest

So Anyone are up onstage playing their self-styled 'maximum acid' rock and no doubt sporting goggles and comedy facial fungus. Unfortunately we're still stuck at the door on the wrong end of a guest-list cock-up - and it actually is unfortunate because, while there's an element of 'look how cray-zee we are' desperation to Anyone's drug-addled schtick, they would at least have provided some sort of spectacle.

Masters of Reality, you see - who, incidentally, should really be called Chris Goss and Friends, comprising as they do this week of mainman Goss, Queens Of The Stone Age duo Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri and jobbing drummer John Leamy - are as visually stimulating as mud. And that's the brown sticky stuff, not the bad '70s glam band.

Goss himself looks like a window cleaner-cum-off duty burglar and the frontline stand stock-still throughout, concentrating on the job in hand and occasionally exchanging nods in a mutual muso appreciation fest. This is fine when the songs are strong enough to hold the attention which, from opener 'Deep In The Hole' through the quirky 'Why The Fly?' to the overdriven rock 'n' boogie of 'She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)', they frequently manage to do. Goss and Homme's vocals mesh perfectly on the likes of 'John Brown' but there are also moments - very long, drawn-out moments - when they plod with the pace of an arthritic donkey or noodle away like Led Zeppelin at their overblown worst.

But even at their most sedate, Masters of Reality are a thoroughbred racehorse compared to Mark Lanegan. The T-shirts on sale tonight read 'deadslowrocknroll' and they're not fucking kidding. Although actually they may be overstating the case by claiming the mantle 'rock n roll' as most of tonight's set is made up of turgid blues that could have been performed just as capably by the bunch of 40 year-old accountants and bike shop owners that get to play at being a band by jamming out at your local pub every Tuesday night.

With Screaming Trees Lanegan did make some - not much but some - of the last decade's most emotionally stirring music. It's plain to see that he's every bit as passionate about the music he's making now, but passion and past achievements count for nothing when the end result is as dull as this. [Paul Travers]