I’ve never been to a Nick Cave concert, but if this Abattoir Blues double DVD/CD combo is any indication of what’s in store for me when I do, I’d gladly sell a kidney to have the honor of seeing Australia’s most infamous export on stage. Seeing Nick Cave swaying around like a mad preacher singing his gospel-like blues to his congregation of fans is like witnessing a man exorcizing his demons on this grand stage.
Nick Cave has always been like a Gemini-like artist and his style is akin to one of his idols, Johnny Cash. In this live setting you will discover all sides of Cave, from the devoted husband, preacher clergyman to the outlaw killer. And sometimes you get all three in the same song. He’s dynamic, fiery and holds nothing back in this concert.
The main difference between Cash and Cave, besides the fact that Nick is not American, is that, while Johnny conquered his demons alone, Cave has his Bad Seeds as his posse backing him up on stage. And the Seeds are just as electrifying as their leader. You can see and feel how Nick sings, dances and plays off the energy of his band—even his backing vocalists. Each one is an intricate part of the Bad Seeds. Something you will discover when you watch one of the many extras in this explosive DVD/CD collection.
My favorite member of the Bad Seeds has to be violinist Warren Ellis. Ever since Blixa Bargeld left the band after the Nocturama sessions, Ellis has been Cave’s right hand man. I see Ellis as a Paganini type string player. (The same one made infamous in Stephen Davis’ Zep bio Hammer of the Gods) Niccolò Paganini was a violinist in the late 1700s that not only lived the life of the rock star but single-handedly changed the art of the violin. Ellis is much like this. Not many violin players could share the stage with a rock band and, not only shine, but even steal the show. All you have to do is watch and hear Ellis hunched over on his little stage, during “Stagger Lee,” like a beast ready to be awoken and to explode with his strings of fury. Ellis plays like Paganini, a man equally possessed as Cave while delivering string arrangements that are both devilish and beautiful sounding.
There’s something for everyone in this collection. For the Classic Cave fan or the New School Nick scholar, both sides are reflected in this amazing DVD/CD set. The first DVD, my personal favorite, was recorded at the Brixton Academy in London. This one has the best tracks from Blues/Orpheus set, the best being “Hiding All Away;” this showcases the best of The Bad Seeds and Cave live. Sit back and see how one of the best tracks from the album comes alive on this amazing stage.
You will also see classic cuts performed like a revamped and must see and hear 21st Century version of “Red Right Hand,” see Cave plays piano with one hand as he smokes a cigarette with the other during “God is in the House” and the spectacular set closer “Stagger Lee.” Just press play and prepare yourself to be blown away by the decadent power of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
The second DVD, filmed in 2003, has more material from Nocturama including a stellar version of “Bring it On” featuring Chris Bailey on vocals. The highlights of this DVD are the extras, which include a short film on the recording of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus; A documentary on “The Bring it On” video shoot and a plethora of promotional videos.
The CD’s are basically the best performances from the Abattoir Blues tour. It’s not jut one show like the DVD. The track listing is similar to the first show but the CD’s add two of my favorite Cave classics, “The Weeping Song” and “Deanna.” There’s so much material visually and audio wise to discover here on both DVD/CD’s of Abattoir Blues that you will want and need to revisit his live Nick Cave experience again and again.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues/TheLyre of Orpheus
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Live Seeds
PJ Harvey – The Peel Sessions: 1991-2004