Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Barry AdamsonEdit this event
The man’s as scruffy as we’ve seen him in years, the set that’s unfolding mirroring this unkempt appearance: an un-tucked shirt here, a particularly scrappy rendition of ‘The Ship Song’ there. It’s forgivable, last year’s Grinderman LP (review) shrugging the shackles of balladry that’ve characterised so much of the man’s work; what’s not is the heat inside the Apollo this evening. It’s enough to have the man shed his shirt altogether come the encore (of which there are two), returning sporting a tee branded with his latest album’s title across its front. Available in the foyer. £20. Thankyouverymuch.
First things first, though: Barry Adamson, formerly of Magazine and himself once a Bad Seed, begins his set to a largely empty venue. The cluster of attendees milling about the front only serve to highlight the expanse of nothingness towards the back. But on Adamson surges, the Jazz Devil in him coming to the fore during – you guessed it – ‘Jazz Devil’. There’s time enough in his brief set for a taster of new LP Back To The Cat, ‘Spend A Little Time’ a standout. But while Barry’s the coolest cat in the building, for sure, he’s not the hottest ticket.
It’s Nick Cave the many have assembled for, and it’s Nick Cave they get – more than usual as the wiry 50 year old, moving with the fluidity of a man half his age, opens his shirt low and casts his jacket aside long before the end of his band’s pre-encores set. Stepping to the front of the stage during almost every song, he occasionally stretches an arm into the crowd; at one point the sinister, Judderman-like shadow he casts onto the wall resembles Michelangelo’s The Creation Of Adam. He’s clearly in good spirits, engaging crowd members in playful banter. Warren Ellis, to Cave’s left, rocks wildly like a man – a man who’s not seen a razor in a decade – possessed; at the back, Martyn Casey’s basslines never falter, and flanking drummers Jim Sclavunos and Thomas Wylder pound their skins with a real raucousness. There’s an electricity in the air – the thunderclouds that roll onto the stage’s backdrop during ‘Tupelo’ about ready to crack open.
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (review) is well represented, as you’d expect given its very recent release: ‘Today’s Lesson’ is phenomenally boisterous, ‘We Call Upon The Author’ delivered with such ferocity that a girl dancing to DiS’s right damn near has a fit, and ‘More News From Nowhere’ settles into its set-closer slot with assured ease. The titular lead single, cast into the melee second tonight, is already a Bad Seeds classic, its parent album rapidly becoming a catalogue favourite alongside highpoints like The Boatman’s Call and ‘Tender Prey’. From the latter we’re proffered a shaky take on ‘Deanna’, but given the crackling atmosphere one can just about accept its rough-edged rendering.
What does irk some is weak airings of ‘Red Right Hand’ and ‘Into My Arms’, although DiS must ‘fess we’d left by the latter’s second-encore appearance (we’ve a fiancée who needs to be up before six). Gripes about the Bad Seeds’ present predilection for rediscovering a youthful exuberance and instilling this thrusting confidence into their archive do stand up, and are relevant given the ticket price, but when Cave and company stir up a maelstrom during rambunctious numbers like ‘Lie Down Here (& Be My Girl)’ and ‘Get Ready For Love’ all complaints vanish. This is the most exhilarating the Bad Seeds have seemed for some time, and while those preferring the band’s slower, more sombre numbers leave Hammersmith feeling short changed, for us who came to dance the set’s a sweaty success.
But a t-shirt? C’mon, Nick. You’re a classy guy. Have Barry take you shopping, yeah?
- Nick Cave & TBs to headline ATP Iceland + amiina video exclusive + mixtape
- Q1 2013 Editor's Picks: From Bowie to Jason Molina - 13 Must Reads
- "All songs are about The Sex" - DiS waves farewell to Singles columnist Wendy Roby
- DiS Digest: February 2013's Album of the Month, Playlist + more...
- This Week's Singles 18.02.13: Sweet Baboo, Fat White Family, Pick A Piper, Nick Cave
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
- Push Every Other Band Away: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Live Report
- Mixtape Monday: The AIM Independent Music Awards 2012 - 50-song Spotify Playlist