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CONCERT REVIEW: San Francisco, Warfield Theatre [18/04/2002] by minx Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

I thought this show was utterly amazing! Heard complaints from other nonfans that the band seemed a little unpracticed, but I thought for the most part that they were great. Complaints also abound about Khan and Kid Congo but I liked 'em. Boys together outrageously. I think part of the problem was that people just didn't get the joke. An email list I'm on included complaints about them basing entire songs around the word "pussy." Um, well, some people recognize Marianne Faithfull's "Why D'ya Do It" when they hear it... ;)

Anyway, Nick came on to much cheering, especially from the peanut gallery of gorgeous gothy groupies in corsets surrounding me. He stopped the second song, a bit into it and started again after a "fuck" or two. His tempo tended to be slower than the band's which may have spurred those "unpracticed" complaints. But he seemed very, very energized and enthusiastic as a performer. My boyfriend described him as "Elvis"-like. I prefer "anti-Elvis" in every way you might think.

Nick definitely didn't seem haunted by any demons, rather he seems to have become a consummate performer, able to summon the spirit, conjure up some dark tales without succumbing to the negativity. The set, lighting was simple and less dramatic than the last full Bad Seeds tour, but Nick compensated by doing more than his share of shaking, gesturing and thrashing around on stage, so that when some guy offered up his hand during "Red Right Hand," Cave grabbed that paw and didn't let go--probably disconcerting the fellow a bit...

Warren Ellis contributed some rather nice violin to songs from the latest album, and Mick Harvey was an utter rock. Two percussionists, two keyboardists. And of course you have to love Blixa, staring off into middle distance whenever he wasn't picking out the noisier parts. Someone's looking a bit Kinski-ish nowadays.

Of course throughout the groupies breathing down my neck were giggling at inopportune, quiet and/or dark moments. Felt like turning around and hissing something sour and bad-tempered. But I just couldn't be bothered, so mesmerized by ole Nick on stage.

As for the superficial details: I was standing one person deep from the front of the stage, right beneath Nick, so I also had the good fortune of being able to check out his mismatched black suit, glittery black shirt, white "wife-beater" undershirt and black shoes that seemed to be held together with metal clasps. Too weird to be able to study such things. Nick is just a slip of a fella, but he also looked a helluva lot healthier than I've seen him and there was a lightness to his aura that I found really intriguing. I also had a lovely view of his left foot beneath the piano, when he played songs such as "God is in the house" and "Into my arms." It audibly tapped out a rhythm everytime he sat down to play.

Must say I'm eternally happy that Nick sang "Henry Lee" and "Into My Arms" though he didn't oblige me with "Are you the one I've been waiting for" or "From her to eternity." Very inspiring all in all--the kind of performance that revives your will to make, follow or critique artwork -- like watching a wonderful Scorsese film or reading Rilke or something. Ended up raving about the show like a wild woman by the watercooler to anyone would listen.

 

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