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CONCERT REVIEW: Orpheum Theater, New Orleans [21/03/2001] by Daniel McKernan Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

Nick Cave is just about to finish his nine-date, seven-city solo tour of the US. It seemed odd that Nick would have started off the US-dates at a place most known for the New Orleans Symphonies: the Orpheum Theatre. After arriving and seeing the set, though, it was obvious that Cave was going for a very much more sleek, less rock-n-roll atmosphere. Too bad much of the crowd could not grasp this distinction.

Arriving at the show, which was the only date in the country that did not sell out, I was faced with an extremely eclectic crowd: from teenaged goths to swanky yuppies to drunken 40-something assholes. The show started with Kelly Hogan, who had a strange country-esque shoe-gazer style. The highlight of her show was her performance of the Magnetic Fields Papa was a Rodeo, though even that was overlooked because everyone wanted Nick Cave.

The stage looked simple: grand piano, drums, electric violin, electric bass, and an accordian. And hanging from the ceiling were four glowing stars set to nice blue curtains. The mood was definitely not hardcore Birthday Party/Bad Seeds rock'n'roll.

Finally Nick Cave came out, put his cigarette out, and sat at the piano. Someone shouted the question "Can we smoke too", Nick and he replied 'Absolutely not, this is a NO SMOKING venue' and afterwards chain smoked throughout his whole performance. He opened with an assaulting version of "West Country Girl," which he played alone.

Afterwards he was accompanied by Jim White (drums) and Warren Ellis (accordian/violin) of the Dirty Three and Susan Strenger (bass) of Big Bottom, and played mostly recent Bad Seeds material very low-key styled, though he did throw in an old Birthday Party song, "Wild World", which picked up the pace on drums and electric violin, while Nick pounded harder at the keys and shouted a bit. My highlights were definitely "Stagger Lee", set to a cabaret-style beat with the harsh, shrill ending sounds being replaced by electric violin. The line I'd crawl over fifty good pussies just to get to one fat boy asshole definitely threw aback the uptight old men serving as ushers to the rather unpredictable crowd.

Throughout the whole show you could hear Nick Cave's mental tempo being tapped out by his foot below the piano. With that known, no one could really understand why some fucking asshole kept talking loudly during the first half of the performance. Eventually security was called to deal with him, and to deal with the massive amount of people who ignored the "NO SMOKING" signs because of the "NO RE-ENTRY" signs. It was a strange show.

Along with classics like "The Mercy Seat" and "Into My Arms," he played a few new tracks from the new album, "As I Sat Sadly Beside Her Side", including "No More Shall we Part" the great "God is in the House", which is a mock-Christian anthem about a town where they bred all our kittens white so we can see them in the night, since "God is in the House". The crowd responded with a "Hallelujah!"

It was definitely a great performance. Nick Cave's amazing stage presence shined during the encore, where he played "Henry Lee, "The Ship Song," "Loom of the Land," and "Straight to You." Lastly he performed "Little Emtpy Boat" from King Ink II to end the night with a fuck you to the audience that left everyone laughing their ways to the exits.


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