Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds set for UK tour 2013
Gigs in Glasgow, Brighton, London, Manchester and Edinburgh
The Barrowlands and the Usher Hall – how many other artists could play both venues on consecutive nights and look equally at home in each? Dark Lords of both the grubby and the grand, Nick Cave and his cohort of mean-looking backing musicians the Bad Seeds – sadly now sans co-founder Mick Harvey, who departed in acrimonious circumstances in 2009 – are a poetic post-punk institution of singularly elegant poise, as reaffirmed by their beguiling latest album Push The Sky Away.
It’s maybe the most stripped-down, discomfortingly intimate Cave album since 1997’s illustrious The Boatman’s Call – an atmospheric swirl of restrained menace, whirring loops, cool organs, slithering strings and tumbling drums, awash with mythical lyrical allusions to the Australian’s adopted home of Brighton – making it sound like some kind of frontier town where lost souls go to be extinguished or saved. And awash with sex. Lots of sex.
If you thought Cave got all that out his system with his horny garage-rock side-project Grinderman (signature song: ‘No Pussy Blues’), think again – from the very memorable opening line of ‘Mermaids’, ‘I was the match that would,’ ahem, ‘fire up her snatch,’ to the vaguely exploitative cover image of Cave throwing shutters open to let daylight pour over a somewhat taken-aback looking stark-naked female (actually his model wife Susie Bick, shot in their own bedroom). Think something akin to the sound of Leonard Cohen with a massive erection and you’re close.
It’s a song collection that will sit fascinatingly among the epic vastness of the Cave and the Bad Seeds canon, between tormented, scuzzy blues laments to the heavens and down-at-heel torch songs of the most stirring kind. Whether experienced in the gloomy intensity of the Barrowlands or ornate splendour of the Usher Hall, it’ll be appropriately special.
Barrowlands, Glasgow, Thu Oct 31; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri Nov 1