Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
I was 15 when Peter Møller lent me The Boatman's Call
, thereby introducing me to Nick Cave and severely impacting my taste in music. I am, of course, eternally grateful.
(thank you, Are) informed me that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were playing at The Edinburgh Corn Exchange on November 26, I consequently threw all thoughts of saving my money for food out the window and immediately set out to get tickets together with Tim and Rebekah (well, I got them to order the tickets -- I haven't actually given them the money yet).
The Corn Exchange, as it turns out, is far away from anywhere I have ever ventured before. Edinburgh is bigger than I generally think it is.
We weren't quite sure whether the venue was small or large -- it felt large to me, but Rebekah assured me it was small. And the floor was sticky (scarily so: I tried to move out of the way for a man, and almost fell over because my feet were stuck). Still, we did a lot of the giddy jumping-clapping and exclaiming "we are going to see Nick Cave". I know some of you are already sniggering, thinking something along the lines of "weeeell, I don't know whether Camilla would actually see
anything at all, as most of the world is twice as tall as her". And, well, you are right. But I'll get back to that.
First: the warm-up band, Joe Gideon & The Shark
... what can I say? The words repetitive, monotonous and derivative come to mind. They did try. But there are limits to how many times you can repeat "the tidal wave sees you" before it gets silly. And they kept insisting (over and over and over and over) that "if you love something that much, you will see it again", which is patently ridiculous logic. There was one song, about a painter and arsonist, which seemed to have potential, but the potential lay in the lyrics, which were drowned out by the guitar and the drums. And the playback bits. Anyhoo...NICK CAVE!
He rocks my world. He has silly hair and a scary mustache; he still manages to look cool. The man has serious style -- he is quite possibly the only person alive (or dead) who can make the tambourine look like the hottest instrument around. He has stage presence that should make a Broadway musical crew weep with envy. He has energy that could probably power a small country for a couple of years. I rave. I gush. And yet, I don't feel that I do him credit.
He is also a tall man. This helps when you are a shortish person hemmed in by inconsiderate tall people who insist on standing directly in front of you.
And he wore a waistcoat. I do not know whether that is relevant, but I thought I should bring it up.
I freely confess that I did not recognise all the songs, but he did at least sing the following:Mercy Seat
, from Tender Prey
-- the latter after one of the numerous requests from the audience -- Scottish people apparently have a different attitude to concerts than what I have experienced before: it must be said that half the time I did not understand what they were shouting, but it did seem like a couple of them tried to get a conversation started. The Weeping Song
and The Ship Song
, from The Good Son
. I am not one to complain when Nick Cave wants to sing "The Weeping Song", but I admit I was apprehensive because of the lack of Blixa Bargeld's exquisite vocals (any voice that makes Nick Cave's seem ... normal ... well, what can I say?). But it went quite well. In fact, allowing for my resistance to change, I'd say it was very good. "The Ship Song" was an audience request (Scottish audiences are persistent), and seemed to come as a surprise on everyone. And it did not really fit, being too slow for the set. But I do not complain. I love that song. Stagger Lee
, from Murder Ballads
, from The Firstborn is Dead
.Hard on for Love
, from Your Funeral ... My Trial
.Red Right Hand
, from Let Love In
. I love "Red Right Hand". I love it. Now imagine Nick Cave slithering across the stage (in a waistcoat) while singing it. I had shivers down my spine -- quite an achievement considering it was so hot in that all my clothes were soaked when we left, and clapping was as much a way of creating air-flow as showing appreciation at one point (I am not saying we were not big on the showing appreciation -- quite the contrary).Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
and We Call Upon the Author to Explain
, from Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
. Both brilliant. Especially the latter. It is like punk rock with added irony. Or a different type of irony, or in different measure. Oh, I don't know. I know I like. Both. My enjoyment was not impaired by the woman in front of me leaning on me. Well, it may have been, but I was all the happier when my passive warfare of sticking my elbow in her back drove her away. Nature Boy
, from Abattoir Blues
, and The Lyre of Orpheus
, from The Lyre of Orpheus
. Well, those are really the same album, aren't they? Joined at the hip, as it were?
I suppose I need not warn you that links are dangerous, and old music videos can severely impair your ability to enjoy the music. I suggest you click the link and listen to it with your eyes closed. Or better yet: buy the album(s).
All in all, I admit it would take a lot for me not to be happy with a Nick Cave concert. I was already so high on endorphins simply from the idea of it, that even the shoddy warm-up band and the 20 minute wait between them and the good stuff; the tall people everywhere standing in my way and moving about whenever I had finally fond a crack in the masses to look through; the sticky floor; the physical pain in my knees and back from carrying a heavy bag and a heavy coat (yes, I'm an idiot, I brought a heavy bag and a heavy coat) and standing up for four hours in a hot room with no oxygen -- none of this, really managed to dampen my enthusiasm for this concert.
And from what I could tell, I was not the only one. We spent what felt like ten minutes clapping to get them back on stage after they left the first time. I don't think I am exaggerating. I couldn't tell whether they were playing really
hard to get, or simply didn't want to come back on because they were exhausted. At any rate, they did come back. All was good in the world.
Well worth the time and money. Who needs food, anyway? Obesity is a growing epidemic, I hear.