Going to a Bad Seeds concert is something that can’t be missed. There aren’t many singer/songwriters like Nick Cave – with one of the most distinctive voices, the most imaginative of thoughts and the most depressing songs of the last 40 years. Depressing – and yet somehow relaxing! If you’re after a classic fun-time concert, don’t come to this one. Squashed into my seat at the Vector was not the best way to listen to the Bad Seeds, but the view was great and the band got to work. All 8 members of the Bad Seeds make up a highly polished unit, consisting of 2 keyboards, drums, percussionist, bass guitar, violin and guitars – with Nick hitting the ivories on some of the slower stuff. No flash guitar solos, just the most beautiful sounds to fill my ears at a concert for some time.

It started off slow and haunting with 3 songs from their new album, The Skeleton Tree. Good, but a bit slow for my taste. Things can only get better – and they sure did. Higgs Boson Blues from the album Push the Sky Away – only 4 years old but it seemed like an old classic – What a song!!! It was played and sung to perfection! You could feel the hurt in his voice – sloooow blues to the max. I felt like it I was at a funeral!

Then things started getting heavy with From Her to Eternity. The heavy bass, then all of these out-of-it noises from the keyboards. It sounded so good, with Nick telling us the story over the heavy noises of the instruments. If you’ve never heard this song, you need to listen to it.

If that wasn’t enough, then the storm clouds broke and they got into the twisted blues of Tupelo. It hit us like a good punch to the head. A song about a big storm in Elvis Presley’s birthplace of Tupelo – Had to be the highlight of the night for me!!

After that things slowed down again with Jubilee Street from Push the Sky Away – nice song, sounded good. Then the ship song- another slow one followed by Into my Arms then more slow ones from The Skeleton Tree. All good sounds, just a bit of a comedown. I’ve had a bit of trouble getting into the new album. Don’t know why cos I love his slow depressed stuff. Maybe I need to listen to it for another year or so.

But never mind because next out of the speakers was the funky disco sounds of – yes that’s right – RED RIGHT HAND!! The crowd favourite and it sounded pretty darn good. For such a big band, the sounds were mighty sparse. This song was a mind blower until the next one The Mercy Seat from the album Tender Prey. A song about the electric chair. This song is like a downhill spiral of gloom with layers of sound and Nick telling the story of a man about to die. Listening to this sound live, was exhausting – I felt wasted afterwards! Then a couple of slow ones again and it was the end of the set.

Then on they came for a five song encore!! Nick asked for requests and we got Jack the Ripper – a hard, dirty, violent song about blood and death that could only be beaten by the next number – Stagger Lee. An American western tale of blood, violence and sick sex. I can’t tell the story of the song here. It’s too out-there! Just listen to the song – it will blow your mind. A story about what the bad motherf—-r Stagger-Lee gets up to, with Nick adding an extra verse about how after Stagger-Lee finishes his deeds, the devil comes to collect him, only for the devil to end up with 4 shotgun holes in his motherf—king head. Sure, Nick forgot where he was up to in this song, missing words, but who cares? It was BRILLIANT!

All in all this show had amazing high points, with a few dips in between. To sum it up – the high points were so high I’ll be up there for a while.

If you missed this show ring up work, tell them you’re sick and go to Aussie and catch them there – you won’t regret it!

By David Carpenter

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds set list:

  1. Anthrocene
  2. Jesus Alone
  3. Magneto
  4. Higgs Boson Blues
  5. From Her To Eternity
  6. Tupelo
  7. Jubilee Street
  8. The Ship Song
  9. Into My Arms
  10. Girl In Amber
  11. I Need You
  12. Red Right Hand
  13. The Mercy Seat
  14. Distant Sky
  15. Skeleton Tree
  16. People Ain’t No Good
  17. Jack The Ripper
  18. Nobody’s Baby Now
  19. Stagger Lee
  20. Push The Sky Away

About The Author

Bill Hames

Auckland via Brooklyn. Sometimes I write for a living. Sometimes I don't..

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