Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nick Cave

Last week, I was stunned (Is that the right word? Yes!) by a live concert by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Crystal Ballroom (see my original post at Culture Shock). I'm a bit chagrined to admit that I only found Nick Cave and his various band permutations within the past year or two. But, I quickly became a fan of his amalgam of intelligent songwriting and charismatic showmanship.

This first clip, "Henry Lee," features a duet with PJ Harvey from his 1996 album "Murder Ballads." It's sexy, macabre and funny all at once:

To illustrate how my mind works: I'm now tempted to jump from the foregoing duet to one featuring Nick Cave and the infamous (and toothless) Shane MacGowan covering Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Is that the path I really want to take? I'm not sure how to read this one, and am afraid that it obscures what great artists they both are. Are they sincere, or is it all tongue-in-cheek? Okay, let's watch, but promise to come back when it's over.

In some future post, we may take a video tour of Shane MacGowan and the Pogues. For now, let's look at Nick Cave with one of his latest band incarnations, Grinderman. This is a clip of "Honey Bee" from an appearance on David Letterman. Although this tune wasn't on the Portland set list, it captures the crazy energy and showmanship of that live show. The Rasputin-like character is co-conspirator, Warren Ellis, who is a hoot to watch in concert as he bangs away on violins, beat boxes and that mandocaster (electric mandolin) he wields in this piece.

There's so much more, but I promised to limit each post to no more than three clips, and I wasted one on the Shane MacGowan duet! A fellow I once worked for had a saying, "You should never substitute rules for judgment." So, I judge that you ought to see my favorite Cave tune, "Red Right Hand" from 1994. He played this one live last week and it was quite different. Besides the creepy, sinister lyrics, I completely dig the slinky bass line, the booming bass drum, the chime and the simple organ solo in the middle.

If you're wondering what this is all about, go here to read the Mighty Toy Cannon Manifesto describing my intentions for this site.

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