NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS: Manchester Arena- 25/09/2017

28 09 2017

2017_featured_nickcave2

 

Never in my life did I ever think I would see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds live. I treated them like mythical god-like beings that I would worship but never see. It all changed last night. Everything changed last night. I know I always say it but, I can honestly say that Monday night’s show was the best gig I had ever been to. Nothing is ever going to top it. I don’t want anything to ever top it. It was something I thought I could prepare myself for, but honestly nothing can prepare you for ever seeing your idol.
I’ve allowed a few days to pass so I can process what I saw and felt on Monday night and to be honest I think it is one of those things I’ll never get my head around. Prior to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds arriving on stage, the atmosphere was tense. A lot of people had picked up on it and it was just so heavy. I heard people mention what had happened and how they could sense it. It was an odd environment but as soon they stepped on stage, everything changed.

As soon as they graced the stage, tears fell from my eyes. The tears were from years and years of waiting. Years of admiring this poster I remember seeing to having the man himself stood in close proximity. It was entirely surreal.

The bulk of the set was Skeleton Tree. I’ve only listened to the record a handful of times. It’s such a gorgeous record but the circumstance surrounding it is heartbreaking. However, seeing these songs live changed it all. The emotion was there but more so- I was in awe of all of them. Every single person on that stage is a genius and the best musicians I have ever seen.

For me, the way Warren takes an instrument like the violin and turns it into this wild weapon like a machine gun blew my mind. He took something calming and whipped up a heavenly storm. It felt like the inside of my head when I have a panic attack, except I felt totally at ease with it all.

I know it is utterly expected but I need to write about Into My Arms. It’s a song that has come to mean everything to me. It’s always reminded me of someone, and to finally be able to hold her close as they performed this perfect dedication of love meant the world. And I could see just how much it meant to everyone in the venue.

From Her To Eternity sent me off on a whirlwind. If I could live in the moment of any song, it would have to be that. It’s one of the most important song to me by anyone. From the lyrics, the music, the title and Nick’s voice- it is just a perfect work of art that I always remember being one of the first Bad Seeds songs I ever heard. Those moments stay with you, and so does seeing it live. It’s a moment that you want to always stay in.

From Her To Eternity went right into Tupelo. It was like a storm arriving. It was wild and it was untameable. Every little detail just made you fall deeply in love with the band. More than you already were, and to think it wasn’t possible!

One moment in the set made me cry harder than most. I really didn’t think Jubilee Street would make me cry at all. It’s a song I’ve loved but never did I think I’d get myself in a state. Towards the end of the song when Nick powerfully and beautifully  (I’m getting goosebumps writing this) sings “I’m transforming, I’m vibrating, I’m glowing. Look at me now!” If I could describe in a way that does this moment justice, I would. But if you were there or if you’ve ever seen them do this live, I hope you understand what I mean and what I’m getting at.

Higgs Boson Blues felt like a punch to the face, like your soul was being shaken up. There are songs I wish they did but honestly they could have sung the weather and I’d have been happy, and still declared it as the best gig I’ve ever been to.

As I watched Nick be propped up by the crowd with their hands reaching out to him waiting to be touched and held- I kept thinking it was like a sermon. The stage is their altar and we are their dedicated followers. At one point Nick announces how gorgeous Warren is and he also discusses his purple socks with a guy in the crowd. At the encore, I think he hands him one of his socks. There was also an idiot who twice yelled at Nick, “Get your dick out!” I don’t condone violence, but I wish Nick found the doofus and smacked him in the choppers.

I’m not a religious person, but this gig felt like a religious experience. I’m totally fine with Nick being my god and my teacher. I clung onto every word he sang with such hope, love and admiration. Nothing has felt the same since. I feel as if I could be okay with never going to a gig again after seeing them because let’s face it, nothing in this world is ever going to top it. As I gazed up at the stage, I felt 3 years old again staring at the poster on my uncle’s wall with curious eyes and anticipating what would happen if I delved deeper.

I loved when Nick walked into the crowd in the seating area. He stood like a majestic creature. Controlling the crowd with hand claps and silencing us when he wished. We would do anything he wanted. The stage invasion was such a beautiful moment. To see that many people on stage with the band they adore was just beautiful, and as the set ended with Push The Sky Away everything felt alright. What comes next is going to be okay, no matter what.

I’m sure I have missed out many things that happened, but I’m still trying to stay in that moment of seeing them live, finally. Of course if I had the money I’d have happily done the whole tour. The crowd were wonderful, the band were phenomenal. There are so many reasons as to why this is the best gig I’ve ever been to and if you were there, you’d understand.

Nick Cave. The Bad Seeds. From Them To Eternity….





THE CRAMPS: Look Mom No Head!

17 09 2017

r-1930982-1424534358-8854-jpeg

 

I’ve got a few reasons as to why I am excited to write about this record. The main reason being- Iggy Pop is on it! The Cramps AND Iggy?! Oh man..what a time to be alive! I also love the artwork to Look Mom No Head! I think it could be my favourite. This is definitely one of my favourite records by The Cramps too.

The record opens with the dominating Dames, Booze, Chains and Boots. It sounds a little different to what we’ve heard before by The Cramps. The guitar is a lot of heavier on this song, and it just shows how brilliant Ivy is. No one can really compare or compete with her, and she’s truly not given the recognition that she deserves.

There’s one other thing that I need to mention here. The drummer on this record is Jim Sclavunos. That’s right, THE Jim Sclavunos. You probably know him from being part of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. He’s up there as one of the greatest drummers of all time- ask anyone. In 8 days I will FINALLY get to see The Bad Seeds in concert. I’m so excited to see all of them. That’s the closest I’m ever going to get to The Cramps! Jim’s drumming on this record gave The Cramps a different and heavier sound. There is something about this record that takes you aback slightly. It feels like something got stirred inside the band, and Look Mom No Head! was born.

The record is made up of some brilliantly named songs such as Bend Over I’ll Drive, I Wanna Get In Your Pants and Eyeball In My Martini. These songs are just insanely great. Like I said, it’s definitely a heavier sounding record, but that sound of The Cramps that we all adore is still there. That sound never ever left. There was no way it could. They could have done an Opera record and you’d still know it was them. There is something so powerful and distinctive about The Cramps. No one else comes close.

Iggy features on the rowdy Miniskirt Blues. Their voices together is just ridiculous. It is such a fantastic song and the way their voices go together is just amazing. You can’t help but wish that they did more together. Imagine if they did a full record together and took it on tour. It would have been wild. It would have been so sordid and beautifully debauched. Lux and Iggy are two of the greatest frontman and singers of all time, and for them to do this song together is just such a great moment.

Look Mom No Head! is a wild record. Songs like Two Headed Sex Change and Blow Up Your Mind are so good. Two Headed Sex Change is such a ferocious song. I’d have loved to have seen this live. I really love Ivy’s guitar on this one. For me it is definitely one of those songs that make you realise how great The Cramps were. It really does show how amazing they all were and are, as musicians.

I adore how Lux’s voice sounds on I Wanna Get In Your Pants. I would have loved Iggy to have featured on this one too. It’s such a sleazy song, and you cannot help but laugh at some of the things Lux says.

Look Mom No Head! was ahead of its time, like everything The Cramps did. It’s such a filthy and smutty record, and I love it. It’s easily up there as one of my favourite. Not just by them, but of any record. I love how strong they all sound and how it has such a tight sound to it. I could happily play this record over and over. It definitely is the band at their strongest and strangest.





NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS: Skeleton Tree.

10 09 2016

gallery-1464874465-nick-cave-skeleton

“I called out, I called out
Right across the sea
But the echo comes back in, dear
And nothing is for free.”

To write about something knowing the circumstance, even if you are a huge fan, proceeds to give you an unsettling feeling inside. If you’ve listened to Skeleton Tree, you may have felt uneasy and as if you’re experience grief and loss. If anything, this record, teaches you how to feel or how to be aware of how you feel. For me, that’s something I have always taken from Nick Cave’s music. But this time around, something isn’t sitting right. It isn’t sitting right because we know the circumstance. There’s comfort in this record but there’s a wealth of pain that is striking.

I grew up on Nick Cave’s music. Boys Next Door to his sixteenth record with The Bad Seeds, every record has had some impact on me. It’s been there when a person has, and hasn’t been there. It’s a safety net and a handbook for life because I just never seem to know what I’m doing. Writing about Skeleton Tree is tough. I’ve never written about a record I didn’t love. This is a record I love, that’s obvious. I just find it hard to allow myself to have any solid opinion because of the heart of it. The lyrics are gorgeous, and the lyrics justify once more, why Nick Cave is my favourite song-writer of all time. He doesn’t write songs, let’s be honest. They aren’t songs. They go beyond that, they go beyond being bodies of art. Beyond being 4 minute symphonies and 6 minute wonders. Genius. It’s the only word to describe him.

Jesus Alone was the first song we heard from Skeleton Tree. When I heard it, I knew in the pit of my stomach that on 9th September 2016 I would not be listening to a record that sits easy and fits perfectly amongst my collection. This is one that falls into sacred listening. I’ll gladly talk about this record with anyone, but by no means would I want to listen to with anyone around me. It’s a record you need to be alone with. You need to be completely and utterly alone.

Girl In Amber has lines that are just nothing short of painful but absolutely beautiful. It’s not always what Nick says but how he does so. The pain in “Don’t touch me” is so raw. We’ve all felt something so terrible, and the thought of being comforted hurts more. You don’t want any form of physical contact, but you give in to it because sometimes that is all there is. That’s all that can fix it.

I’ve listened to Skeleton Tree enough times now to say that Magneto possess my favourite lyrics.  My heart broke when I heard this, “Oh, the urge to kill somebody was basically overwhelming. I had such hard blues down there in the supermarket queues. And I had a sudden urge to become someone, someone like you.” This song is one of the heaviest on the records and is so gripping and heart-breaking. The more I listen to it, the more I find certain parts to relate to. It does not make for easy listening, and it isn’t a record you play in the background to kill some time. The complete opposite.

I’ve always been drawn to the way Nick writes about love and religion. I’m not a religious person, but I love the way in which he writes about God and what might be above and below us. I love the way he writes about love in a beautiful way that shows its good and ugly side. I Need You shows this exceptionally fragile side of his words that makes it one of the best moments on the record. Take the song however you want. I’ve not made my mind up. The words will break the toughest of hearts, and part of you squirms when you listen to it because of how painful it is. It is nearly 6 minutes of desperation and pleading of the heart. His voice has this different tone to it, a tone I’ve not heard from him before. You can sense the grief, and part of me doesn’t want this to be my favourite off Skeleton Tree because of how open and vulnerable it is. But when your hero can make something like this, you feel less alone. However, I may say it is my favourite but I still can’t listen to the whole song. There’s a part that just ruins me, and I have to move on to the next song.

In a way, Skeleton Tree feels like the stages of grief. Distant Sky gives you hope. Else Torp’s vocals add something quite haunting to the song, and it works so well. Her voice and Nick’s- it is a perfect match that adds comfort and reassurance.

In under 40 minutes, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds take us on a journey through emotions we all wish to never feel. But, it’s inevitable. We will all experience a loss of some kind, and if you are one of the lucky ones who haven’t- this record will easily make you feel as if you have. I think if I had watched the film before listening to the record, maybe I’d say more of worth. I never really wanted to write about Skeleton Tree. It doesn’t feel right in me doing so, but there was something at the back of my mind that needed to get this out at length. I messaged my uncle earlier about the record, and we both agreed that Nick Cave can do no wrong. Irrespective of the circumstance, it’s their sixteenth record and it’s brilliant. It is painful to listen to, but the way Nick does it makes you feel like he is stood next to you as the words fall into your ear.

The title track closes the record, and ends with echoes of “And it’s alright now.” Music is a solid source of security and a way of coping. Both for the person creating it, and the person listening to it. Skeleton Tree evokes this to the very core. I could go on and on about how much I love the record and how much I love him, but every single song reinforces my love for Nick Cave and his words. They’ve got me through hell and back. I can only hope that this record has done





NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: The Boatman’s Call.

26 06 2016

the-boatmans-call1-768x768

 

“Through every word that I speak
And every thing I know
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so.”

 

Where I described everything about love, lust and all in between on Let Love In- I seemed to have reserved some of that for The Boatman’s Call. A record that pours out devotion and desire. Two things you need to keep anything alive. The Boatman’s Call is a record that I’d not given that much attention to. I love Nick Cave, that’s so obvious. And for the most part I do find myself swayed to anything pre- Murder Ballads. I’d found it hard to love anything as much as the records pre-1997, but obvious that’s a really lame stance to take and this is me rectifying it to myself. This doesn’t mean I don’t like or haven’t listened to anything after, far from it. I just have more of a connection with older records. Hey, if I can learn to like olives then I’m pretty sure I can do this.

Going back on my words, The Boatman’s Call is as great as Let Love In. The Boatman’s Call opens with the greatest love song of all time- Into My Arms. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like this song or has never quoted it at someone they love. Or even thought of the song when in the presence of the person they love. It’s just a stunning declaration of unconditional love, and when you feel that way about someone or something you cling onto it. Fight off anyone who ever tries to take it from you. It’s the kind of love song that’s part Ted Hughes, part Poe; “But I believe in love. And I know that you do too. And I believe in some kind of path. That we can walk down, me and you.” But it is every single part Nick Cave, from beginning to end.

By no means am I religious, and if I was I’d keep those views to myself- but I love the way in which Nick Cave links in religious imagery in his words. Example already above in Into My Arms- but the rest of this record, and others have heavy religious imagery flowing throughout them. It’s the way he does it that makes you curious and wonder if there is anything there. Maybe there is. There probably is, so believe in whatever the hell you want and just be kind to each other. That’s how it should be. I love this line from Brompton Oratory: “No God up in the sky, no devil beneath the sea.  Could do the job that you did, baby. Of bringing me to my knees.” I had another in mind, but this one just etched its way into my brain.

Where Into My Arms describes wanting to protect and to forever love the one you want, Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? just sums up finding someone that you’re evidently meant to be with, and the realisation hits you. With nothing or no one getting in the way of it. Things take time, and Are You The One just describes all of the waiting so perfectly. Again, I wish I could write something like this. “I think of you in motion and just how close you are getting. And how every little thing anticipates you. All down my veins my heart-strings call, are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?”

The Boatman’s Call is the record that shifts Nick away from his more rowdy and loud sound, although it’s clear he has still flirted with that sound more often than not. The songs on The Boatman’s Call are gentle, loving and dark. Have I just described myself? Every single time I listen to him, I just find new words to love, a different verse to be taken aback by. Everything he does and has ever done just sums up what I’m feeling at a certain point. The vast majority of his songs hold such sentimental value, I don’t even know how to use my own words.

As I listen to Idiot Prayer, I can’t help but revert to being 9/10 years old and carrying this anger towards my dad for dying. Does the anger fade? A little. Do you get over it? No, you develop ways to hide your feelings. Anyway, irrespective of my inability to know what to do, I’ve found something in this verse: “If you’re in Heaven then you’ll forgive me, dear. Because that’s what they do up there. If you’re in Hell, then what can I say, you probably deserved in anyway. I guess I’m gonna find out any day. For we’ll meet again, and there’ll be Hell to pay.” He didn’t deserve it, for the record. It’s just a lyric. I think it’s taken me 21 years to find something to relate to regarding this.

Far From Me is such a painful song, that’s full of loss and torment. There’s parts of it that can reduce the toughest to tears. It’s hard to listen to, but I reckon most can identify and find comfort in: “You told me you’d stick by me. Through the thick and through the thin. Those were your very words, my fair-weather friend.” There’s other parts of the song that are equally as brutal as this, but I think that one just speaks for itself. It’s a brilliant “fuck you”, and lord knows that there are some worthy of it.

The record ends with Green Eyes, which the opening line is taken from the gorgeous Sonnet 18 by Louise Labé (read her work) : “Kiss me again, rekiss me and kiss me.” A stunning way to close the record, and is easily one of the best songs on The Boatman’s Call. Those green eyes….

Although The Boatman’s Call sees Nick taking himself away from previous sounds, that atmosphere in his lyrics are still there. They’ve always been there and I highly doubt that they will ever go away. If anything, as stripped back The Boatman’s Call is, it just shows how powerful a write he is- in every single way. He can take you to this world that makes you feel so safe, and so at ease with how you feel. It’s one of those records you play, and you realise again and again why you love him, and why words are so important. This record says all you want and wish to say- he just got there first.