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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on ‘MTV Live ‘N’ Loud,’ 1997
08:55 am


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

In 1997, around the release of The Boatman’s Call, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds taped an episode of MTV’s Live ‘N’ Loud. Since Boatman was a significantly more sedate record than its predecessor, Murder Ballads, the “Loud” part of the title maybe wasn’t such a hot fit for the band’s music at the time, but the broadcast nonetheless featured a superb short set, shot in low-key black and white, of four Boatman songs, plus “The Carny” from 1986.

This MTV taping came less than a year, mind you, after Cave declined his nomination for an MTV music award with one of the funniest refusals of all time. (His problem wasn’t with MTV per se, but with competitions in the arts, though he has plenty of other awards, so who knows what was really up.) The jaw-dropping passage “MY MUSE IS NOT A HORSE AND I AM IN NO HORSE RACE AND IF INDEED SHE WAS, STILL I WOULD NOT HARNESS HER TO THIS TUMBREL—THIS BLOODY CART OF SEVERED HEADS AND GLITTERING PRIZES” would, in a better world, be immortal. The letter is still published in its entirety on Cave’s site, and also here on Dangerous Minds, so if you wish to read it at either of those places, knock yourself out, the video will still surely be here when you’re done.

Here’s the set list with rough start times if you want to skip to something:
00:21 “Into My Arms”
05:02 “Brompton Oratory”
08:51 “West Country Girl”
11:46 “Far From Me”
17:46 “The Carny”

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave and the Cavemen, live in 1984

In the short time between the demise of the Birthday Party in 1983 and the release of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ debut From Her to Eternity in 1984, the latter band rapidly went through a handful of incarnations and name changes, though you’d recognize any of them as the Bad Seeds. First was Nick Cave, Man or Myth?, a band name I kind of wish they’d stuck with! That was followed by the far less inspired moniker Nick Cave and the Cavemen, who, shortly before the debut LP’s release, were renamed the Bad Seeds in reference to the Birthday Party’s final EP, The Bad Seed. That interim named band the Cavemen was captured on video in London at the Electric Ballroom, Camden in April of 1984, just two months before Eternity saw the light.

Four songs from the set were broadcast on Spanish television’s avant garde music show La Edad de Oro: an incendiary version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” “Well of Misery,” the Birthday Party’s “Mutiny in Heaven,” and Elvis’ Presley’s “In the Ghetto.” That’s less than half of the documented set list, but still quality stuff, of course. The band lineup is Nick Cave on vocals, Blixa Bargeld and Hugo Race on guitar, Barry Adamson on bass, and Mick Harvey on drums.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Only 24 hours to catch the webcast of last night’s AMAZING Nick Cave concert in LA
03:26 pm


Nick Cave
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

It says there’s only 24 hours left that you can still watch the HD webcast of last night’s Nick Cave concert in Los Angeles but it’s probably closer to 12 hours at this point.

I was at the show at the Henry Fonda Theatre last night and WOW. I’ve seen Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds going back thirty years—fifteen times—and this was one of the best shows, ever, for sure.

The LA gig was notable for several reasons. They played their boss new album, Push the Sky Away all the way through. The pensive tension and release of the album’s running order, I thought translated exceptionally well to a concert hall set list. “Jubilee Street,” one of Cave’s best songs, well, since his last album, was a particular swaggering highlight.

The return of the great Barry Adamson to the Bad Seeds. Very cool. I actually did not know this was the case until he walked onstage. I’ve been listening to two of his albums a lot lately and I was quite happy about this.

The string section that accompanied the group and the children’s choir from Flea’s Silverlake Conservatory of Music giving the show a sort of “Nick Cave meets The Langley School Music Project” kinda feel. It worked brilliantly. Cave would turn to them—I’d say they numbered about 20—and ask “You ready kids?” and trust me they were. They sang their little hearts out. Who would have expected something so cute from a Nick Cave concert, but there you have it. (“The Ship Song” with the kids last night was a lovely, lovely moment).

A particularly amazing “From Her to Eternity,” throbbing like a motherfucker, where every instrument, including those in the string section, were basically played as percussion.

Cave was in great voice and he looked amazing, cutting a damned slim figure for a guy his age in a sharp black three-piece suit. The Bad Seeds are probably the greatest rock ensemble of this generation, honestly what more needs to be said of these gentlemen? Watch the video, it speaks for itself.

After a certain point, Cave thanked the children and they left the stage. Cue an absolutely monstrous second act that raised the fucking roof. It was almost as if Cave and the band felt they had to wait until the coast was clear before they pulled out all the stops. It’s probably a good thing they did, because the intensity of the latter part of the gig would have probably scared the shit out of their young collaborators.

The set ended with an encore of “Stagger Lee” that was so intense people were leaving the theater with stunned looks on their faces, like they’d just been brutalized. I felt positively giddy.

In any case, time’s a-runnin’ out on this one. The Bad Seeds will be touring America throughout March and April. Every single show is already sold out. You lucky people!

Thank you very, very kindly Iain Forsyth (who directed this webcast, btw)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dig the three new installments of the remastered Nick Cave catalog
10:06 pm


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The next three installments (Nocturama; Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus; Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!) in Mute’s superbly remastered Nick Cave catalog are out and they are every bit as good as the eleven other reissues in the series, which is to say, they are very, very good indeed. I can think of few major artists who have had their catalog so lovingly and exhaustively buffed and polished as Cave’s. Then again, so few artists have such extensive back catalogs so richly deserving of this treatment…

Mute’s Nick Cave re-issues, like their fantastic Depeche Mode remasters from a few years back, simply set the standard for wondrefully realized archival releases and they are a terrific value for the money. Each 2-disc set contains a CD and DVD featuring crazy good 5.1 surround mixes (choice of DTS or Dolby Surround), b-sides (in 5.1 also) music videos and an installment of “Do You Love Me (Like I Love You)” the multi-part documentary by longtime Cave collaborators Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard that now spans across all fourteen albums.

I am loath to really try to “review” anything by an artist the caliber of Nick Cave, because after such a long and legendary career, fuck it, everyone’s made up their minds about him and his music. Like many of you reading this, I’m a huge Nick Cave fan. I’ve got all of his albums, the soundtracks. his books, etc, etc. I’ve seen him read twice and I’ve seen him play live more times that I can remember. Nearly every single time, I’ve been in the front row. (I even had an odd encounter with him when I was a teenager that I recount here).

I’m such a big Nick Cave fan that when his Kicking Against the Pricks covers album came out on CD, that was the decisive factor when I decided to actually buy a CD player in the first place (back when they were still really expensive) my logic being “Wow, if this sounds so good on my Walkman, it must sound amazing on one of those new CD things.” The whole concept of “high fidelity” opened up to me via that album (and Marc Almond’s Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters, which also sounds great).

I mention all this, because my standards are high as far as Nick Cave’s music goes, I know it especially well, and because I’m more concerned to answer this consumer-type question for you: “Is this worth buying again if I already own it?” than I am boring you with my opinion on the music.

The answer to that question is “yes,” they are definitely worth buying, especially if you have a 5.1 surround/home theater audio set-up. And yes, I realize that we’re talking about three albums that came out not all that long ago. Should you really re-purchase a CD that you bought within the last 4 years?

I still say yes. For a few reasons, but mainly because of the 5.1 surround mixes. If that prospect doesn’t really excite you, you won’t care about the rest of this, but if you are intrigued, read on…

The most recent of the trio, 2008’s incendiary Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! is, for me, not only one of the best albums Nick Cave has put out in years, but one of the best Bad Seeds albums period. It’s a fucking amazing album, but it already sounded great in 2008. In fact, all of the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ records sound amazing. They’re a group well-known for having especially good sounding albums in audio geek circles. Is it that much better than the version from just four years ago?

I think it is. The 5.1 surround mix of Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! is so rowdy and unkempt and assaults you with such a force. that if you love that album like I love that album, it will positively knock your socks off. Don’t get me wrong, the stereo CD sounds just fine, too, the album is a great, hairy, roaring BEAST… but when you hear it in the spatially enhanced surround mix, that great beast jumps out of your speakers and grabs you right by the fucking throat. The guitars sear your flesh like a cattle brand. The drums crack your skull against the wall and the bass stomps all over your face. It draws blood.

If you love that album like I love that album, don’t hesitate to buy it again. It really is that much better. It’s fucking great. Seriously, it’s fucking great.

The reasons why I’d buy the other two, Nocturama and the twinned Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus. are, well, less enthusiastically stated—neither album is something I’d grab when I want to listen to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds—but I still would buy them. The first reason would simply be to have the whole set, ‘cos I’m like that, and secondarily because I had the occasion to revisit two albums that I didn’t really give all that much attention to when they first came out.

As a result of spending more time with Nocturama and the attendant installment of Forsyth and Pollard’s documentary, I now see it as the album when Cave’s lyrics begin to shift a bit towards the more self-consciously “modern” wordplay of the decidedly 21st century work on display in the Grinderman albums and Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! Musically, it’s not a bad album, but it’s treading water. I came away from listening to the new version still thinking that the fiery 15-minute-long “Babe, I’m On Fire” was the best track.

Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus, too, I am able to appreciate much more now than when it came out. Due to the entire immersive multimedia package that Mute put together (two CDs and a DVD), it does feel like perhaps I was the one missing out on this one. It’s a really good album, but it still feels a bit overlong. After spending more time with it, it’s definitely gone up in my estimation (I felt the same about Henry’s Dream) although like I said, still not an album that I’d grab if I wanted to hear a recent Nick Cave & The Bad Seed album. It’s just not one of their very best, like Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! is.

Which brings up the obvious question: When are the re-vamped Grinderman albums in 5.1 surround sound coming out?

Below, the music video for “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. Incidentally, something about the title track that I already suspected was confirmed by the documentary on the DVD, that the Lazarus/“Larry” of the lyrics had something to do with New York-based author Larry “Ratso” Sloman who authored a book on Houdini (discussed in the lyrics also) and who is friends with Cave. If you know Ratso, a legendary New York character and man about town, the song is even better when you imagine that Cave is singing about him as the Biblical Lazarus reborn again in New York City:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
From Her to Bifocals: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds eye test chart

Last week I posted about a Velvet Underground eye test chart modeled after “the classic eye chart developed by Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen in 1862” from Etsy shop Waste and Wounded.

Well, there’s a new addition (or maybe I missed it because my eyesight sucks?): A terrific Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds eye test chart.

It’s selling for $65.00 + shipping at Waste and Wounded.

The Nick Cave Eye Test Chart. Limited Edition Canvas Print Artwork.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment