“Hello everybody, I’m here to massage your pants until you get raped by Nick Cave” – Shilpa Ray
As the country started shitting themselves on the eve of the worst storm of the century, some of us lucky ones took shelter in the Hammersmith Apollo as Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds whipped us into a whirlwind of their own.
Pushing their most recent album ‘Push The Sky Away’, on walked five men suited and booted, followed then by Warren Ellis to rapturous applause then finally, Cave Himself. Barely a word was spoken as they settled us in with album opener ‘We No Who U Are’, preparing us for the musical and emotional devastation Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds intended to thrust upon us.
What followed next was a clear statement of intent, ‘Jubilee Street’. The sign of a band of highest class, the ability to turn the room into silence, the whole venue in awe of Cave’s mercurial lyrical ability, the next minute he’s screaming in the face of the wide-eyed front row.
The bone shaking bass of Jubilee Street had us all drinking our pints a little faster, wishing it was us the Australian was standing on as he clambers into the crowd, feeding off the touch from the thousands of loyal Bad Seeds.
“I got a foetus on a leash”
I don’t think until you’ve been to a Bad Seeds show that you can fully comprehend their wonderful discography; their ability to roll into old favourites ‘Abattoir Blues’ and ‘Tupelo’ before treating an unexpectant crowd to the unforgettably rare live performance of ‘Love Letter’, melting the hearts of couples around the room that felt compelled to kiss each other.
How do you follow that? Take us back to 1997 with ‘Far from Me’ a chance to reflect, a chance to prepare for the next surge of aggression knowing full well what they’ve got left in the tank. ‘Higgs Bosom Blues’ changed the atmosphere of Hammersmith Apollo which in turn, received one of the biggest cheers of the night with this one line: “Miley Cyrus floats in a swimming pool in Toluca Lake” and left me thinking “please play it, please play it, please play it”.
Special mention must go out to fans favourite and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis whose relationship with Nick Cave was defined by this one mental image, they look at each other, nod, spit on stage, Ellis throws is bow to the back of stage, flips his violin over and begins playing it like a crazed guitarist.
Before playing ‘Push The Sky Away’ and exiting the stage, Cave declared: “I want to dedicate this next song to the great Lou Reed”.
To round the night off, a five song encore followed in which ‘Red Right Hand’ added the cherry on top of the icing. Funnily enough, despite hearing some of my favourite tracks it was finale ‘Give us a Kiss,’ a new and unheard track that was left ringing in my ears.
Nick Cave is one bad mother fucker to quote Stagger himself.