SSE Hydro, 27/09
Nick Cave is a more of a myth than a man, the peak of the gothic movement formed from the corpse, pardon the imagery, of the punk era. Despite this enigma, an entire album exists of his most personal conflict – to be the father of a fallen son. Heart-wrenching as it is, Nick remains himself; the silhouette of a perfect villain.
Throughout his performance, the One More Time With Feeling-esque camera work highlights Nick writhing with that nauseating gothic sex energy, wittily asking the audience to grope him and responding with “This is sexual harassment in the workplace” and creating an adlib out of “Boo boo boo”. Yet his power comes across as emotionally sincere as he preaches to the audience during crowd-surfing and invites people on stage to dance; his raw integrity is a real presence.
Of course, it wouldn’t be The Bad Seeds without his own Red Right Hand, Warren Ellis, switching instruments – at times mid song – just to strum his fiddle and fulfill a cliché in the best possible way. Warren is almost as wonderful to watch as Nick himself, not to mention the performance quads of the remaining members each taking something more abstract out of the concept of being a ‘musician’ than is typical.
The music itself is sublime. Skeleton Tree tracks are done with as much passion as on the album, and the camera shows Nick himself tearing up at points; both lighting and mixing are perfect for such slow but immensely powerful song-writing. Early material played is not helped by the latter, however, serving instead as a warning to never forget your trusted earplugs.
Still, From Her to Eternity is now branded in memory – the explosive and abrasive sound, the entirety of The Bad Seeds screaming the look. The aforementioned Red Right Hand, who has so far met the set with poise, erupts with power during the finale. Nothing less than incredible.
[Tess Dawson – @theblutit]