Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Saw Nick Cave Smile (Maybe)

The last time I did Glastonbury Festival, back in 1998, one of the most memorable gigs was Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds; the gloomy weather and sullen band suited each other perfectly. It was also the one and only time I've spotted myself on TV at a festival, when I watched the coverage (kindly recorded by my mum) back at home afterwards. Standing there swaying along to 'Red Right Hand' in the rain with Michael (my boyfriend at the time), sporting my delightful fluorescent yellow kagool (which I still own) - I looked thoroughly depressed, but I was having a good time, honest!

The next time I saw Nick Cave live was with his other band Grinderman (essentially a pared-down version of the Bad Seeds) at this year's Latitude Festival, almost exactly ten years later. I was livid with myself when my camera battery died (I have since bought a spare) right at the start of the gig and I failed to get any shots of the eccentrically photogenic star. But it was still a great show, and Cave had lost none of his trademark aloofness - delivering the amusingly titled 'No Pussy Blues' with glorious deadpan sincerity.

Then when the opportunity arose to review a Bad Seeds gig in Cave's (and my) adopted hometown of Brighton last weekend, I jumped at the chance. Usually I would avoid the soulless Brighton Centre like the plague, but was trusting in Cave's profusely theatrical charisma to invigorate even this most dreary of venues, and thankfully he didn't disappoint. Shaking me firmly out of a torpid Sunday hangover state, the ageing rockers delivered an awesome set that was just as good, if not better, than when I first saw them in that muddy field in Somerset a whole decade ago. Seeming noticeably more laid back here on home turf, Cave was on top form, strutting about and bantering with the enthusiastic crowd. At one point I thought I even detected the tiniest hint of a smile beneath that roguish moustache. It seems the scowling goth is mellowing in his old age, or perhaps he was just happy at the thought of sleeping in his own bed after the gig - I know I would be. You can read my write-up of the gig at: www.thedetour.co.uk and see more photos at: www.flickr.com/photos/rowstar.

And should you be concerned that I'm turning all mainstream stadium gig-goer on you, here is a review and photos of Peggy Sue's altogether more lo-fi happening at the Hanbury last week.


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