Sunday, September 21, 2008

You know how you psych yourself up for something and then it is impossible for it to live up to your expectations? Not so last night with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds...

 the newly refurbished Warfield.

Red Sparowes opened, and I enjoyed their opener show as much as when I saw them headline at Bottom of the Hill. They did a fantastic job of bringing the atmospheric guitar assault, but because of the hypnotic visuals, rumbly soundscape, and being seated, both Trevor and I got kind of sleepy during their performance.

But on to Mr. Cave: I have been waiting for years to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and I was completely blown away. They were phenomenal! Nick Cave is turning 51 tomorrow, and he rocked harder than boys half his age.

I was seated in the balcony, and the only way it would have been better was if I had been right in front of the stage. We got a great setlist, with old favorites like 'Tupelo,' 'The Weeping Song,' 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry,' and 'Hard-On for Love,' as well as a few from the newest record, Dig!!!, Lazarus, Dig!!!. But the final song of the night was truly a finale: their intense and graphic version of 'Stagger Lee' from the Murder Ballads album.

The reserved countenance of the band was a perfect foundational backdrop for the wild antics of Cave and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis. And aside from the confessional, Jesus-laden, fire and brimstone quality of most of the Bad Seeds' catalog, Nick Cave himself is a showman, so the atmosphere was like a religious revival onstage and in the audience.

You have your slick preacher with dodgy facial hair...

and your guru:

Do you love it?!?

I have to hand it to Warren Ellis and his violin. Whether he was leaving my mouth agape at his unorthodox use of violin as frenzied guitar or feedback instrument, or bringing tears to my eyes with a few mournful draws of his bow, that man infused his violin with his raw essence. Intense.

I also really dug his haphazard suitcase of tricks (maracas, flute, looping machines, strange homemade-looking instruments) strewn about the stage. Oi, and how his tiny guitars made me smile.

There are musicians whose music is actually hindered by live shows, and then there are musicians whose catalogs take on a deeper flavor when you experience it live. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds demonstrate clearly why seeing a live show is still a must. What a wonderful night!

(pics of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds by seancodysf)

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Blogger Mark said...

I wonder if his tiny guitars are technically mandolins or some such? That said, I always thought a mandolin should have double courses.

At this point, I'm just thinking aloud on someone else's blog. Whoops!

Anyway, keep rockin' folks.

September 21, 2008 at 2:57:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Think aloud away! I would be interested to find out if they were truly mandolins (he had two different ones). If they were mandolins, they were taking some serious abuse. He rocked those suckers like the proverbial hurricane.

Anyway, I know you have more of a professional interest, but I just thought they were adorable.

September 21, 2008 at 6:37:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

Excellent review hot-stuff! Your picture of the renovated Warfield is only matched in beauty by the beauty of a man in love with his maracas.

September 22, 2008 at 2:21:00 PM PDT  
Blogger LAS said...

same warren ellis as dirty three i'm assuming... dirty three is AAAAAWESOME btw ftw lol lmao omg

September 23, 2008 at 3:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

@ trevor: heehee, that was something, wasn't it?

@ las: yessir, they are one and the same. Love myself some Dirty Three as well.

September 24, 2008 at 10:08:00 AM PDT  

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