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introMitsubishi Electric Halle, Düsseldorf, Germany
12th October 2017
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Had you been lucky enough, you could have been one of the ~100 chosen fans that were baptized on stage by the “Prince of Darkness”. It was NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS showing their obsession with death, religion, love and violence on a sold out night at Düsseldorf’s Mitsubishi Electric Halle.

This band has been sited one of Rock's “most enduring, redoubtable” ones, with an accomplished discography, sixteen studio albums of constantly evolving music styles. NICK CAVE’s career is extensive. It goes beyond the music and far away. Nicholas Edward Cave OA (60) is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and occasional film actor. His early days as musician are dated in the late 70s with THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, a band regarded as a major influence on Gothic Rock, and Cave, with his shock of black hair and pale, emaciated look, was described in the media as a poster boy for the genre. Cave was honoured with the Order of Australia (OA), an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognize Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours. The appreciation to his work and creative mind in music and writing has become a magnet to collaborations in prestigious film projects, most of them in collaboration with fellow BAD SEEDS band member Warren Ellis. http://www.nickcave.com / https://www.facebook.com/nickcaveandthebadseeds

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Music & Performance
At 20:25 the lights went down and the ambient and eerie ‘Three Seasons in Wyoming’ started playing. The song written by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis is part of the original soundtrack of 2017's ‘Wind River’ directed by Taylor Sheridan. Mysterious choral surges and spoken word (whispered and defeated-sounding) from Cave echoed in the now dark blue venue. The wide stage of the Mitsubishi Electric Halle was taken by the six BAD SEEDS followed by the always spotless, slim “Prince of Darkness”. The musicians lined up on aesthetic layout in the background except Nick’s fellow Warren Ellis who roamed on stage throughout the show. The LP ‘Skeleton Tree’ is the central theme of current BAD SEEDS tour. It was released in 2016 and it’s the 16th studio album of the band. During the recording sessions Cave's 15-year-old son Arthur died from an accidental cliff fall. Most of the album had been written at the time of Cave's son's death, but several lyrics were amended by Cave during subsequent recording sessions and feature themes of death, loss and personal grief. This exposure and translation of a trauma into art increased the already known intensity of Nick Cave’s performance. Seven out of eight songs of the new album were merged and mixed into a repertoire of jewels of most of their albums.

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The band started playing ‘Anthrocene’ and then Cave’s deep voice, which this time wasn’t telling elaborate stories full of intricately felt characters like the BAD SEEDS' previous material, but “a sense of loss and the look for an object to love”. It was the only song which was performed in a distance to the public. ‘Jesus Alone’ also from the new album was the beginning of an increasing ritualistic relationship between Cave and the audience. And this beginning was marked by the fall of two curtains on both sides of the stage widening it for the front man to touch, wave, seduce and hypnotize his followers. The show continued increasing its intensity and the older songs popped up like mushrooms in the woods. ‘From her to eternity’ started with Cave on the piano. The song grew in intensity so as Cave’s and Ellis’s performances, finding moments of peace to become tenser and more violent. The visuals on the huge background screens made a great contribution to drama, like in ‘Tupelo’ which was performed with tropical storms blowing palm trees and devastating small villages, all in black and white. Nick Cave’s relationship with the public is on the one hand intimidating but on the other hand loving, letting them know that he sees individuals.

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He seems not to like to be followed by filming cell phones and he didn’t miss the chance to complain about it and to bless the owners in their face, all in perfect rhyme with his poetry. The show was approaching its end. ‘Skeleton Tree’ was to close the presentation of the same name album. The band left the stage on big applause and grateful salutation from Cave. The band returned to stage for a memorable three song encore. ‘The weeping song’ sounded like a march to the rhythm of Warren Ellis’s viola. Suddenly Cave went to the encounter of the public, merging in to it, going thru it, until finding a place to stand in the middle of the venue. The hypnotized audience pleased everything the “Prince of Darkness” demanded, singing, clapping, waving, and cheering. But the climax came with ‘Stagger Lee’ when nearly a hundred fans were randomly invited to come up on stage on a collective performance. Some kind of baptism ritual took place there, something irreversible for those lucky ones on stage. I can only say “Don’t you miss the chance to see this band at least once in your lifetime”

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Setlist
01. Intro: Three Seasons in Wyoming
02. Anthrocene
03. Jesus Alone
04. Magneto
05. Higgs Boson Blues
06. From Her to Eternity
07. Tupelo
08. Jubilee Street
09. The Ship Song
10. Into My Arms
11. Girl in Amber
12. I Need You
13. Red Right Hand
14. The Mercy Seat
15. Distant Sky
16. Skeleton Tree
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17. The Weeping Song
18. Stagger Lee
19. Push the Sky Away

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 10
Light: 10
Total: 10 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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