Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Cave is 55 and still knows how to work every inch of a stage

Artist: Nick Cave

Venue: Le Trianon, Paris

Date Reviewed: February 14th, 2013

Tonight, Nick Cave is in love. Were not talking about a woman – although he must adore his wife, who is naked on the cover of his new album – but with his latest clutch of songs.

There’s a redivivus trend these days for bands to play their best albums in their entirety, so perhaps Nick already knows that Push the Sky Away is already a classic. At a sold-out Le Trianon in Paris, he plays all nine songs from the album.

Cave seems enamoured, and keen to share them with the crowd. Always the perfectionist, he interrupts the band (“Hold it! Hold it!”) and restarts Mermaids. The small stage is packed with a full band, additional guitarist Ed Kuepper and a string quintet.

Ex-Bad Seed Barry Adamson returns on drums and keys, as Bad Seed regular Thomas Wydler is sick. Before a mesmerising version of the album’s title track, Cave asks “Are you ready, kids?” to the small children’s choir in a corner of the stage.

When an audience member shouts “I f**king love you Nick!”, the singer chides him by pointing at the choir: “Hey – the kids.”

The new material perfectly suits the Olympia-style venue. The audience are attentive and awestruck, but there is a sense that they want to hear old favourites. The band duly oblige with a brilliant, bellowing version of From Her to Eternity. Cave, in black suit and satin shirt, straddles the monitors and delivers his “I wanna tell you about a girl” lecture.

He lays his hand on the head of a blonde woman, like a curative TV evangelist, while Warren Ellis towers over the quintet, conducting them into a frenzy.

It’s exhausting and exhilarating to watch. Cave is 55 and still knows how to work every inch of a stage, high-kicking and arching his body, electric-shock style. We are jolted from the creepy menace of Red Right Hand to the melancholic perfection of The Ship Song. He banters with the crowd, smiles a lot and starts Your Funeral, My Trial on the piano.

The set ends with a rousing version of The Mercy Seat, and just one encore, a brooding, energetic, complex Stagger Lee – which is a bit like Nick Cave himself.


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