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CONCERT REVIEW: Brixton Academy, London [07/05/2001] by Martyn Oakland Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

I was surprised with an invite to go and see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at Brixton Academy, at short notice, more because I didn't realise that the friend who invited me was into them enough to want to see them live. I've always been passionate about music (both my own and others), but over time have accepted that my diversity in taste stretches into the emotional regions of which, most of my friends, don't like to venture. Nick Cave exists in that shadier territory that for most fun loving good time guys and gals is strictly 'no go' - there's not many people I know that don't expediently and politely (or not!) make their excuses and leave if I ever put on a Bad Seeds record, or any other disc from the more soul searching corners of my record collection. But they're all my friends, and I love them.

But now I'm left vexed. I guess I'd accepted the privacy of my passion, and the gradual drifting away from me of the people who shared this precious insight into the beauty of theatre and melancholy. So there I was on a Bank holiday Monday night suddenly surrounded by a mass of people who, in a moment of unawares, made me feel among my own. I'd not realised that I was not amongst my own before, until that instant. Subtle, almost without event, one moment I was wandering without aim, and the next..... I was home.

There was nothing explicit I could pinpoint about those people who joined me in that place on Monday night. Nothing particularly uniform about their clothes, their age, their appearance. Maybe something about their behaviour, but for the moment I'm not sure what...? I noted that not many people seemed interested in the merchandise stand; curious from times gone by of fighting crowds to get the last tour shirt. So maybe it's just that there's something unusually unique about anyone who has the ability to close their eyes, lower their head, and drift into a blissful, melancholy, heartfelt, slow dance with the soul, when they hear the lines: 'outside my window, the world has gone to war, are you the one that I've been waiting for'...

I can be happy too, you know (!!!). But not at the expense of witholding access to a landscape of emotion that, to me, seems so importantly human. I fell foul of a moment of sadness, at where these people came from and whether I'd ever find them again. But then let all that drift away, and enjoyed my precious calm, my moment of ease, of warmth amongst brothers and sisters...

...and suddenly it all made sense. The musicians took their places, and the band leader, the choirmaster, the orchestra conductor, the preacher - Nick Cave took the rostrum. And when the crowd applauded and cheered, it felt not like a mob to the icon, but like a group of friends saying: 'welcome back, glad you could join us'. And the rest? Well, for any one that was there on any of those nights, I don't have to say much more. Stunning. Intense. Rivetting. Empathic. Beautiful. Shining. Precious. I'll meet you all again.
Oh, and my friend enjoyed herself, too...

 

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