I'm happy to bring you the Edinburgh edition of Terrible Love Songs written by Ian
In recent years Nick Cave's Edinburgh shows have been a rather self reflective experience with the big man parked on a piano stool mumbling in a morose way as a respectful audience licked an unseen but huge collective wound.
What a difference an upbeat album, two great bits of cinema (writing The Proposition and the score for The Assassination of Jesse James two must see pieces of celluloid) and the best moustache in rock n roll make. Nick was perky - Nick was chipper! Nick appeared to be enjoying himself.
Powered on by The Bad Seeds, the best known numbers from Dig! Lazarus ! Dig! opened the set up with a power which banished any doubts that this was going to be a big night. Nick Cave did mix it up though with a funky version of Tupelo which did not loose any of the bile from the original time of The First Born Is Dead. A fair way to unite an audience diverse in age (and I wasn't the oldest there for a change! Ha!) The banter with the crowd was a new thing reflecting the big man's new found comfort where his musical direction has crashed into a new found popularity with people who likely weren't born when the Birthday Party first exploded onto the UK punk scene. Indeed calls for Release the Bats were humoured where on other nights I've heard curt expletives.
Some of Dig! Lazarus! Dig! has found The Bad Seeds stray closer to traditional rock sounds - indeed Midnight Man sounded very close to Queens Of The Stone Age material when it was thrashed out. In contrast, traditional Cave favourites like The Weeping Song drew acclaim for original interpretations from a band who still want to offer fresh sounds. The most original version of an early / mid period cave classic (his words not mine) was a semi acoustic version of The Mercy Seat which spiraled into a thrash and then jettisoned into a more traditional version of Deanna - two all time favourites of mine . We Call To The Author To Explain emphasised what majestic form the big man was in, ranting and barking out the words whilst whirling round the stage resembling a 1970's Torquay TV Hotel Owner. A bizarre sight.
In terms of bizarre sights, the best was saved until the encore when one of the most self absorbed artists of the last decade invited fans to a sing along version of The Lyre Of Orpheus. A rare occasion - like Robbie Williams doing Angels only very dark. With the lamentations about the oldies shouting for Birthday Party classics forgiven, at least temporarily , the band followed this with Hard On For Love - possibly when The Bad Seeds sound closest to Cave's original outfit. They finished, as usual, with Stagger Lee after which we left a bit shell shocked to be honest at the chumminess of the affair - maybe every dark cloud does have a silver lining after all.....
Here's a link to a photo from the current tour.