NICK CAVE + WARREN ELLIS: Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent 07/09/2021

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis announce Autumn tour | News | DIY

Like most of us, I’ve not been to a gig in nearly 2 years. Having this be my first gig in some time, I knew it was going to be special. I had no idea what to expect- emotionally. I thought I’d maybe cry during certain songs or maybe just be overwhelmed by being there. None of that happened. Instead, I just sat for 2 and a bit hours smiling, sat holding my girlfriend’s hand. My version of Heaven.

The crowd were divine, and the atmosphere was just perfect. To see Nick and Warren in such a small venue (compared to Manchester Arena a few years ago) was such an honour, and the setlist was just perfect. Some may want older songs but to finally hear songs from Ghosteen and Carnage live is truly special.

I need to really focus on White Elephant. On record, this song is unreal. Fifth song into the set and they unleash this beast of a song. I felt like Nick was screaming this song at me. I loved every moment of this song, and in a way I felt like it was just me and Nick. I wanted to get on the stage and sing the song with him, and belt out the line: “With my elephant gun of tears I’ll shoot you all for free. If you evеr think about coming ’round here, I’ll shoot you in the fucking facе. If you think of coming around here. So aggressive, so powerful and just on another level of anything else I’ve ever seen live before. We all have moments from gigs where we can pick out the songs that really hit us- for me, this was it. At the end of the song, someone asked him to play it again. Oh if only! I’d have been happy with 2 hours of this song being played over and over.

I really thought I’d have been a bawling mess during I Need You, but for some reason tears wouldn’t fall. All I could do was stare at the stage in awe. I think for the most part I was just smiling at the stage and constantly thinking, “THAT’S NICK FUCKING CAVE UP THERE!” Every single song (all 21 of them) is beautifully performed. Not just by Nick and Warren but by singers Wendi Rose, Janet Rasmus and TJae Cole add a calmness to the storm. They all have such gorgeous vocals that can soothe the most wild and wired minds. On drums, guitar and providing ethereal and doom-like loops we have Johnny Hostile (an incredible musician if you aren’t aware of him!) Every single person on that stage last night was a joy to watch. They all played vital moments in making songs standout, creating an atmosphere so pure, terrifying and thrilling. How on earth had I gone this long without going to a gig? The thing that makes me feel alive, finally handed back to me. Don’t take it away from us ever again.

Hand Of God, Hollywood and T-Rex cover, Cosmic Dancer were unlike anything else I’d seen before. I’d put Hand Of God in the same league as White Elephant. I felt like someone was shaking my brain, hitting deep into my skull and singing these words right at me. Nothing mattered at all for those 2 and a bit hours. Nothing in this world can compare to a Nick Cave show, but you probably know this.

From Warren playing the flute on Breathless to Nick telling us his love for Stoke (because of the pottery not oatcakes. Imagine if Nick told us he loved a cheese and bean oatcake!) Every moment, every minute, every note, every vocal last night meant the world. The way Warren and Nick look at each other like schoolchildren who have done something that shouldn’t have when the teacher’s back was turned is just beautiful. The way they embrace at the end of the show was just so powerful. You could really feel the relief of these songs being performed, and the general joy at finally being able to tour. It meant as much to them as it did to us, and nothing can beat that.

Nick’s voice gets better every single time. He really makes you listen and cling to every single word. He is telling us stories, he’s giving us a guide to life. He’s letting us know that it’s okay to carry the weight of grief, uncertainty, loss and whatever else the world throws at us. There is so much love in his songs, and the love projects a side of vulnerability that just makes you truly connect with his words. Waiting For You, Darker With The Day- these songs will hurt but my god they are beautiful to witness live.

I adore the way Warren sits, yet makes the violin sound like the most aggressive instrument ever. Something so gentle is turned into something so beautifully violent, chaotic and joyful. His haunting synths are probably the cause of the atmosphere you get- you’re on edge. You have no idea what will happen next. You don’t want to know. Will it be loud? Will it be tame? Will I cry? Will my bones feel like they are being pulled out of my body?

There are probably key things I’ve missed out, but I’ve had 4 hours sleep and my mind is still stuck on last night. I think it will be for some time now. That’s how I want it to be.

It’s pretty safe to say that last night, God was most definitely in the House.

JEHNNY BETH: To Love Is To Live.

Do you remember the first time you heard the voice of a singer where it totally consumed you? Do you remember that feeling that grabbed you? You may not have experienced it yet, or you may have experienced it a few times. It doesn’t matter how many times, but when you find someone who’s voice just grips you completely and their words also have a hold on you, you don’t let it go. You can’t let it go. They don’t let you go. It’s such a beautiful and vulnerable feeling, and that is why I can safely say that Jehnny Beth has one of the most hypnotising voices I have ever heard. Yesterday her debut solo record came out. I’ve not read anyone else’s take on the record, and I hope no one has compared it to the previous records with Savages because this is totally different. This is something I have never ever heard before, and my god it is nothing short of beautiful and poetic honesty.

To Love Is To Live is the name of the record, and it’s a pretty solid mantra to have. The record explores so much around lust, love, sex, intimacy, innocence and decadence. The things most would shy away from, Jehnny confronts it in the most ferocious and wonderful way possible. She has made the record with her partner Johnny Hostile (they have made amazing music in the past together and I urge you to delve into that.) The darkness on this record is so moving, and there is so much hope on the record. Given what we are all going through, we need that hope so badly.

The 11 songs on the record are carefully crafted, and you can hear the sheer dedication on every song. Of course, my favourite right now is her song with Joe from IDLES, titled How Could You but I want to talk about the song Flower first. This song is so sexual in ways you never thought a song could. It is a perfect dedication to a lover, someone who may be far from your reach but there’s that physical side that brings you both together and binds you together. The exploration of sexuality on this song is so vital. The way gender is thrown out of the window (thank god!) and sexuality is explored is just beautiful. For every queer person out there, take and make this song yours. It’s a masterpiece. The trembling in Jehnny’s voice on this really make you connect with the song and put you in her position. If like me you’ve been tuning into her readings from her book, which comes out next month, then you will have heard just how exceptional she is when it comes to describing feelings and thoughts regarding love and relationships, and all forms of intimacy that flow in between. I feel like this record could soundtrack the book.

We Will Sin Together is another glorious masterpiece on the record, and it features the always incredible Stella Mozgawa (one of the best drummers ever) and Romy Madley Croft. It’s the holy trinity of music on this one, and it is such a vulnerable declaration and also offers reassurance that you and the person will head into this together, no matter what. I could say it is one of the highlights on the record, but truth be told, the whole record is a masterpiece and every moment stands out in its own right. Just absolutely perfect. You feel as if with this song, it is just you and Jehnny in the room and she is aiming the song right at you.

What I adore about To Love Is To Live is the production and how raw it sounds. You can hear the care and passion in every single song, and there’s the beautiful raw sound that at times is bold and tall but there are times where the songs are gentle and frail. The balance is beautiful and THAT is how you put out a masterpiece. I honestly don’t feel my words can do this record justice at all. Is anyone else wishing tattoo parlors were open so we could get To Love Is To Live tattooed on them?! I’d get it done in a heartbeat. The Rooms is one of the more tender moments on the record, and Jehnny’s vocals on this are so exposed and so serene. For as long as I’ve loved Savages, I have been in love with Jehnny’s voice, her way with words and all she does. This record fully justifies my love and I absolutely wish I could sit with her, and discuss this record and the way she approaches her art. She’s just out of this world.

There is a strong Punk feel to this record, and the way she is unapologetically herself, unapologetically honest and ferocious on the record just makes you not only fall in love with her even more- but the level of respect just accelerates. I honestly can’t think of a record that has given such a wide range of emotions in a hell of a long time. Heroine is the perfect example of this (and Jehnny, if you see this please know that you truly ARE a heroine.) The romanticism in her words reminds me of Patti Smith to Baudelaire, with hints of Marquis de Sade. There’s this dark poetry on the record that lures you in. I don’t think we are made to get out of it to be honest. Why would you even want to?

How Could You is the loudest song on the record, and it feels like a riot in the ears. Jehnny and Joe’s vocals together is just simply divine. Two of the most powerful and vital vocals in music together, making something that is nothing short of an anthem. My god this is a powerful. I hope, when we can go to gigs together, she brings Joe out at a few shows and does this with him. Can you picture how wild it would be? I hope they make a music video for this, because I reckon it would be a mind-blowing and chaotic piece of art.

For me, this is one of the most incredible records of the decade and one of the most gorgeously put together records I have ever, ever heard. French Countryside shows us another side of Jehnny, and this side is the calming side of dedication and love. The gentle side of love and lust. The whole record oozes intimacy on all levels, and at times lack of it. This is such a heartbreaking song, and you can hear something truly painful in her vocals and that just makes you connect with her so much. I love how Jehnny has this ability to be tough, brave and in your face. But there is another side of her that is so fragile, almost child-like innocence and open. These sides to her are so wonderfully put across on the record, and I honestly cannot put into words how effortless she makes it. Some spend their whole career trying to master it, but Jehnny seems like she always had it in her and unleashed it right away.

The record ends on Human. It is 6 minutes and 2 seconds of important words, that NEED to be heard. It is the perfect way to end the record. The tension is so captivating, and just before we hit the 2-minute mark it smacks you right in the face. This is where she brings everything together and just messes with your head in the best way possible. I’m not going to say too much about this one because I want YOU to listen to it and soak up the song. The whole record oozes power, sensuality, lust, sexuality, decadence and all those glorious experiences that come with it. It’s nothing short of perfect.

Listen to the record in order, take it all in. Let the record take you over. Let it consume every single part of you and beyond. Explore everything and anything, and let this record be your guide.

To Love Is To Live is out right now, and you can pre-order Jehnny’s book here: ffff