The Masterclass

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Where > The Hammersmith Apollo > London, W6.
When > Monday October 28th 2013, on stage 9pm.
To See > Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

A class taught by someone who has an expert knowledge or skill in a particular area, especially in music’.

‘We Real Cool’ is a track on the latest Seeds album ‘Push the Sky Away’.If anything Nick Cave should be regarded as anti-cool. Fifty something and looking like a cross between a haughty giraffe and a strutting peacock, his tall skinny upright frame and half mullet atop a balding head should place him back of the queue for coolness handouts.

With strings man Warren Ellis to his left, Ellis himself looking like a modern-day Fagin (quote- Mrs Hopticklist) with his hermit like beard, and the backing band tighter than a group of Scots on St Georges Day we did indeed get nearly two hours of a musical masterclass.

Three nights sold out in Hammersmith would hardly seem to be representative of someone who has managed to stay solidly below the mass media spotlight. But while he has done so, he has gradually built a large fanbase with his consistently superb albums and stunning live performances.

Cave is a lyricist, poet, preacher, loverman and author. Swinging wildly from dark areas, you really don’t want to go, ‘Red Right Hand’, ‘Stagger Lee’, to tales of the heart, ‘Into my Arms’, ‘Love Letter’ and ‘West Country Girl’. Antipodean Nick knows how to structure songs, and knows how to use lyrics.

He also knows how to rock, just two tracks in, we were treated to the monumental ‘Jubilee Street’ from the new release. It gradually built and built, until the band like whirling dervishes thrashed their instruments to the core, result, a standing ovation.

Nick doesn’t waste time and words, so whilst there was little interaction with the audience between songs, he was often seen front of stage, crouched over his hand-held mike, uttering lyrics, whilst in the grip of the hand of an audience member, both in a spell, I thought Gospel church.
From preacher he then plays ‘God is in the House’, a melodic song about middle America, middle England, middle anywhere.
Before then delving into a back catalogue and some of the bands favourite rock out anthems, ‘From here to Eternity’, and ‘The Mercy Seat’.

Although seven are on stage, Cave is the focal point and you can’t keep your eye off him, as he lurches around the stage, often throwing the mike down at songs end, like he has just cast aside another of his personal demons.
And you cannot help to be impressed by the sheer energy, committment, and belief. Because that is what it is, Cave believes so much in his music, it’s part of him, and if you take the time to listen to him, it becomes part of you. I’ve been a fan since the early days of the Seeds, and still regard ‘The Boatman’s Call’ as one of the greatest albums of all time, and returning to see the Seeds live again reminded me of how much they have meant to me over the last twenty years, and how grateful I am that they are still making such compelling music today.
A great night out, that will be long remembered.

Actually, Cave IS cool, real cool.


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