Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds at WaMu Theater

October 4th, 2008

I don't try to get too excited about concerts. I TRY.. But it never works. I can't help myself. It's too exciting seeing an artist you admire in the flesh... Dancing, screaming, playing, and/or singing.. Or just being outright sexy. Sometimes they make you nervous. Sometimes they make you laugh. No matter what they ALWAYS provide you with a deep sense of pleasure. This is and should be the primary function of any entertainer... Mr. Nick Cave seems to function SOLELY on this idea. By doing such, he has become a great showman, possibly one of the best in music.

The small theatre contained within the colossus known as Madison Square Garden is filled to the brim with eager Bad Seeds fans. This is my first official Bad Seeds show... I saw them do a “half” set at the Plug Awards a few months ago... But this was the first time I was going to see them and only them... I was excited. But I didn’t know how to prepare myself.

I didn’t know what to expect of the crowd. Would they be young? Older than dirt? A mix of the two? Would they be polite? Or would they be Animals? When I go to a show, I can normally deduce what sort of humans I will be dealing with based off of the sound, look, and feel of the music. In example, if I go to see, let’s say Dave Matthews- I know I will be dealing with a shit ton of burnt out hippies and drunken college dudes. If I go see Tool I know I am going to get asshole reformed metalheads, their disinterested girlfriends, prog rock afficionados... And arty types mostly male, with the occasional hot female (weird ehh? Yeah I think so too). If I go see nine inch nails- which I so often DO... I know to prepare myself for the throngs of hyper obsessed fanatics who will do nothing but have pissing contests over who the bigger NIN fan is, and VERY angry, either over or under sexed teens and full blown adults.... And that I will be shoved around. A lot. 

Bearing all this in mind, I try to figure out who I am about to deal with. For the first time in my life, I face a great dilemma. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are extremely prolific. Their style has expanded and contracted constantly in the MANY years they’re been around. The music can be barbaric, guttural, and all together dark, dare I say, DARK? At the same token, they can be spiritual, sentimental, romantic, and dare I say, rather LIGHT? What does this mean??? It means, my dear friends that perhaps I will be dealing with a group of people much like myself... conflicted, old and young at the same time... perhaps poetic or just full of shit.

I be the judge, namely because I am judgmental. Bear me no ill will- at least I admit to it. I have managed to score GA tickets in a 2000 seat venue. Only a lucky few got these optimum tickets. Myself, and my partner in tow, Leeann, have managed to squeeze our way in to the 4th human row, CENTER. As the venue fills, I notice throngs of "cool" middle aged people crammed up beside young trashy hipsters, the "wear the tshirt of the band you're going to see" crews, and the music geeks who act like they're better than you. There's even an occasional pin up goth type... wow, Mr.Cave draws an eclectic crowd. I loved every minute of it. 

There's an opening act, the Belmar Dolls. They show promise. Good beats, nice bass... The vocals are a little weak for my taste, but it's made up for with raw energy. The crowd is lukewarm. This is a place where i would like to comment... the openers are normally supported and sometimes even CHOSEN by the headliner... so, give them a chance! They were good enough to the band, so open your ears and give it a whirl people... it won't kill you! And, please note- THEY WON'T LEAVE THE STAGE not even if you yell at them to do so. They are there to serve a purpose, to get you geared up for the main attraction. So c'mon and get GEARED UP!!
The lights go dim, and everyone waits with baited breath... the band files out one by one when I see him, the thin Aussie Duke himself, Mr. Cave. He is dressed to kill in a well cut pin stripe suit with a white button down shirt, hair slicked back, and let us not forget the porno stache (for the LOVE OF GOD SHAVE IT! It creeps me out...). The show starts, and GASP it's a slow quiet dramatic little number called "Hold Onto Yourself" from the new album. Perhaps one of the most beautiful songs on the album. I couldn't enjoy it, however, because of a drunken wretched older forty-something woman blabbing away... I can't hear the song. 

So, I ask quietly, and politely, "Excuse me, I don't mind you talking, but could you do it between songs?" This harpy's response? "Ummm If you want to HEAR IT the speakers are right over there.." and points her bandaged fingers away from our sweet location, "You could've gotten seats you know" she adds. 

Now, at  a NIN show I would've called this bitch just that... but then, a touch of civility hits me... I say "Look. I appreciate your enthusiasm. I'm excited to be here too. I just want to be able to SEE and HEAR the band, not YOU." With that, she staggers and shuts up. Diplomacy really IS key! Wow, who knew?
The rest of the show goes exceedingly well! Nick is above us 90% of the time, wailing and moaning, and having lovely banter with us. At one point, some one shouts out "GOD BLESS YOU NICK!". He responds in a deep meaningful timbre, "God bless you too. All of you. All of your parts, even the missing ones.." hahaha. The band is RELENTLESS, they pummel us at all angles with various sonic assaults. Nick Cave is the sole proprietor of the entire venue. He is the puppet master- he can make us sing for him, clap in sync, or be stone silent in reverence during "God is in the House". Imagine a theater full of 2000 people, and not a single one even breaths as he whispers... I am completely enthralled with the man. We are all putty in his hands. A few fantastic Elvis-like poses occur, where he deplores to us "Please, don't EVER let me do that again". I can't make any promises Mr. Cave, you're too cool, and I will let you do whatever you please... 

Now, to the meat and potatoes..
1. Hold on to yourself
2. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
3. Tupelo
4. Weeping Song
5. Red Right Hand
6. Midnight Man
7. Love Letter
8. God is in the house
9. Moonland
10. Mercy Seat
11. Deanna
12. Hard On For Love
13. We Call Upon The Author
14. Papa Won't Leave You Henry
15. The Lyre of Orpheus
16. Get Ready For Love17. Stagger Lee