Don’t be too upset about it because Nick Cave is cooler than everyone. In fact, Nick Cave may be the coolest man on the face of the planet. How do I know this? Simple. Just use your God given senses and any remote scrap of intellectual moxie that you may possess and you'll see his appeal. To start, let’s talk about a few of the awesome bands he’s brought into fruition, shall we?
The Birthday Party are cool. They’re raw, visceral, and unapologetic. They also predate the Gothic and punk sound that was about to spring into life by a few years. They were on the forefront of a sound that shaped and molded every alt kids life from it’s start all the way to present day. I’d say that it’s important to pay a little respect to the uncles of goth and punk. From this aggressive, expressive, and maniacal art rock group, Mr. Cave chose to move forward, and formed the . Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are on the the greatest, underrated groups to have emerged from the 80s. When I say “underrated” I mean that they weren’t selling out stadiums- but, they've received tons of critical acclaim and continue to do so, so at least there's SOME appreciation. One of the best components of is how dynamic their music catalog is. They’ve been incredibly prolific, having created a ton of albums all with a unique fingerprint and attitude. Throughout the 80s, 90s, and well into the 2000s, they’ve produced near perfect pieces of audible art and literature. One listen to albums like , , I let love in, and Dig Lazarus Dig will have you muttering to yourself, the same simple statement that I’ve been proclaiming this whole time; “God, they’re so cool”.
Then, unexpectedly, Nick Cave starts all over again. A new band emerges. Grinderman is a masterfully crafted blend of intellect and balls. Cock rock for the members of Mensa if you will. Grinderman, for me, is the unequivocal opus of the Nick Cave’s cool man paradigm. If he gets any cooler, he runs the risk of becoming embedded in a solid frozen block of icy stares and bad ass hip shakes! If you don’t believe me, then I DARE you to go see Grinderman live and tell me you aren’t awesome-er for it! I dare you!
I was lucky enough to score tickets to Grinderman at the Nokia Theater in Times Square on November 14th for me and my sister, it turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen all year. From our immediate entry, slightly buzzed and filled with delicious Thai food- our coolness increased with each steady step towards Mr. Cave. In fact, when I unhooked my wicked gun holster purse to check my black trench coat- the coat check woman informed me that I was officially "The Coolest Person in this Place". I smiled, said "Thank You" but humbly accepted the truth that the title was not rightfully mine. The music began before we even managed to get in. A show that starts promptly at 9?! This shocked me a bit, but, gentlemen like Grinderman always come on time I guess. The shred of the guitar and Nick Cave's voice echoed out into the theater like a wave of rock fury. We were rocking out before we could even register what was happening to us. All around me, I saw massive stoic bearded titans for men standing like sentinels besides waif like women in all black. Some people were moved to thrashing fits of dance like my sister and I but mostly it was a group of immovable statues... this is a fact I found (and find) disheartening. I like to move, people, don't you? I like to emote, and give a little of the energy thrown my way BACK! Don't deflect that energy! Despite this lack of emotion, we managed to weave our way through the seemingly unmoving wall of flesh surrounding the stage to and headed to the right where I was met with another issue. I am short and therefore can never see anything at shows, and given the height of most of the Grinderman attendees, it became a painful issue. The sound was stellar though, and I supposed that that was all that mattered.
THEN- an intervention- a friend of mine popped out from an elevated platform, not 6 feet above me. We locked eyes, smiled, and next thing I knew I was given an actual VIEW of the MAN himself!! I believe I've described Nick Cave's movements to you all before... well, they all still hold true to this very day. He is an energetic a showman who gives you your money's worth and then an extra million just for good measure. He's like a vapid monkey with his ass lit on fire, only- instead of it being comical, it's inspiring! You'll want to set a fire like that in your own pants by the time he's done. It's the lack of inhibition that's always gotten to me. He is simply being what he is... and that's what makes him the coolest. The sound was stellar, and the band was WICKED. Warren Ellis was wiggling, jangling, strumming, and shaking as crazy as a drunken pirate who snorted gun powder. I sensed a camaraderie between these two men that was an interesting blend of respect and competition. By the end of the show I concluded that, if Nick Cave is the coolest then Warren Ellis comes in a close second (though he better keep an eye out for Peter Murphy and David Bowie). I mean, I've never seen a man angrily gesticulate with maracas- then BEAT said maracas on a single snare- and have it be EFFING AWESOME to listen to and witness. So, if you're feeling a little low about your own level of coolness... GET THEE TO GRINDERMAN and all lowliness will be elevated.
Here's the Setlist:
Mickey Mouse & The Goodbye Man.
Get It On.
When My Baby Comes.
What I know.
Honeybee (Let's Fly to Mars).
No Pussy Blues.
Palaces of Montezuma.
When My Love Comes Down.
Man in the Moon.
On a bit of a side note-- Nokia Theater is a GROSSLY underrated subterranean oasis in the HELL that is Times Square. I don't think it's been around as long as some of the other venues in New York but in my opinion, its got some clout. A lot of great shows have been performed there, and despite its odd layout I think it is becoming one of my favorite theaters.