Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Dave Graney and Simon BreedEdit this event
The queue stretches around the block on this, the second date of the godfather of Faulkner-tinged Old Testament hellfire’s 3-night residency at the Academy.
But first, the support:
If you want to be pointlessly analytical, each of the support bands evidence a facet of the headliners. Simon Breed the crashing noise and Dave Graney the vaudevillian rock & roll.
Simon Breed (previously of the Birthmarks, and here at the bequest of Mick Harvey) takes the stage and launches straight into the interestingly-titled opening track ‘’Cunts, Pricks, Wankers & Shits’’. He himself plays an acoustic, but a second guitarist coaxes beautiful, feedback-swathed shrouds of noise from his instrument, leaving all chordal and melodic backing to Simon. The result is innovative acoustic-based tunes, but played with viciousness passion. He’s been likened to a cross between Mark Eitzel and Stereolab, and I’m not about to disagree. A revelation.
Dave Graney (apparently a legend in his native Australia) on the other hand plays straight-ahead country-tinged rock, buoyed by lyrics indicating a caustic sense of humour (my favourite was the track ‘’Drugs Are Wasted on the Young’’, which is of the opinion the drugs are not necessary when you have youth, and would be better saved until retirement, when you have nothing to do and are in frequent pain) and often hilarious between song banter. My only criticism is that the lack of variation in song structures causes the 45-minute set to drag slightly, but Mr Graney knows what he is good at and frequently does it very well.
Finally, it's time for the head-liners. The Bad Seeds enter first, followed by Nick Cave, all as always looking like gangsters in suits and shirts.
They open with the single ‘’As I Sat Sadly by Her Side’’, which is a great deal more menacing and powerful live. In fact, this applies to pretty much all the songs off the latest album. Nick belies accusations of mellowing with age by being as intense as ever, throwing himself around the stage and haranguing the front row like it was still 1992 or something. Like I said, many of the new songs were a great deal more menacing live, particularly ‘’Oh My Lord’’, which is transferred from a moderately loud mid-tempo number into one of the loudest, most intense songs I’ve ever heard live, ranking along with Mogwai performing ‘Like Herod’ as a closer.
The more venemous moments are interspersed with quieter numbers such as the Sinatra-esque ‘’Ship Song’’ and the elegaic ‘’Into My Arms’’. Probably one of the best songs of the night was ‘’The Mercy Seat’’, Cave’s chilling depiction of a prisoner dying on the electric chair, which started slowly and intensified around the constant repetition of the chorus during the coda.
During the encore, the darkness of the tone was lifted somewhat by Cave actually addressing the audience, and by one of his sons watching from the side of the stage and climbing around the amps, making his father’s raging and gesticulating seem a little less threatening, although Cave playing the b-side ‘’Little Janey’s Gone’’ because ‘my son thinks it’s shit’ was sweet. They finish on ‘’The Curse of Milhaven’’, telling the tale of a homicidal girl’s attempt to pretty much single-handedly wipe out her whole town, which is a good note to end any concert on, really.
Although there weren’t many surprises on the new album, Nick Cave is still pretty much the best around at this style of music, and tonight he and the band were as intense, focussed and frightening and cool as ever. And dammit, he’s not a goth! He’s just a little… sombre.
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