Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Gig Review

Illustration By Molly Dixon

At the second performance of their Australian tour, fans young and old where treated to an electric and energetic performance. Cave’s powerful stage presence remains as prevalent as ever.

The Bad Seeds formed in 1986 and since then, have cemented their name as one of Australia’s biggest and longest lasting rock exports.

The support act, The Necks, are an Australian 3-piece experimental jazz band that provided a great atmosphere and sound track for the start of the gig, however it was obvious that the masses of fans had come for Cave.

The Bad Seed’s set list consisted of much of the band’s most recent 2016 release skeleton tree. This is their 16th full studio album and can best be described as atmospheric, lyrical and deeply personal, as much of the record’s production was shaped by the tragic death of Cave’s son in 2015. Spacing out the newer, heavier style of music with fan favourites from older albums such as The Boat Song and From Her to Eternity was a good choice to maintain the energy of the crowd… not that Cave’s performance wasn’t enough already.

Cave’s artistry as a musician and performer was apparent from the second he appeared on stage. There was an anticipation in the audience that made me almost sure he would appear in a puff of smoke, like some kind of enigmatic magic man. As the rest of the band entered, a hush momentarily fell over the audience. When Cave took the stage seconds later it was broken by a deafening wave of cheering and clapping. At the age of 59, he is still a true rock star; reaching into the audience, holding hands with those lucky enough to have fought their way to the front of the crowd.

It would be wrong not to acknowledge the brilliance that is Warren Ellis, the band’s multi-talented violinist (Ballarat born) who shines as a live performer. Ellis’s famously experimental violin style is heightened immensely by a live setting. He rips into the songs that maintain the band’s rock roots with ferocity and lends beautiful, sensitive sounds to tracks of the ballad variety. On stage, both Ellis and Cave radiate joy and give passionate performances.

A personal highlight of the performance was the encore. The narrative track Stagger lee from the 1996 album Murder Ballads really becomes an epic with the full brunt of the band behind it.
I would 100% recommend to anyone who is a music lover to go see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live at some point. The depth of emotion, energy and pure musical talent makes them an act which maintains relevance to the lives of so many.

The tour reached Melbourne’s Sydney Myer Music Bowl on the 27th and 28th of January and concluded in Perth on the 31st of January.

Molly Dixon

The author Molly Dixon

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