27 September 2008

show review: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Disclaimer: It's nearly false notice to title this post as a show review, because I don't feel like this is going to turn out like one. But here goes.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Bambi Lee Savage
Ogden Theatre
Denver, Colorado
26 September 2008

I like Nick Cave's music. Quite a lot. But still, I wouldn't call myself a super-fan. I can't recite his catalogue like I can my honest faves. But in spite of my Nick Cave ignorance, I appreciated that I was in for a treat on this September evening. Though I don't know the names of but a few of the songs, I definitely recognize that voice when I hear it. And I dig those songs. But my copy of Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has sufficed as almost enough Nick Cave for me. That's just how it is. So super Nick Cave fans, judging from my little contact with y'all last night, unless you are a friend of mine curious what I thought of the show, you're probably just going to get annoyed at my ignorance. You are warned.

The Ogden was packed to capacity. And where I was standing, actually over capacity. It was a sweaty energetic crowd who knew these songs by heart. It was overwhelming, both from the emotion of the crowd and the heat. I thought I might faint.

Not having heard but one song off the newest release, Dig Lazarus Dig, I reckoned I wouldn't recognize many songs, but it seemed like about half to more of them are on my best-of disc.

I had heard that there was a problem with their gear making it from Seattle to Denver and that the band had to rent near to all their gear for the show. That seems like it'd have to rattle anybody, but the Bad Seeds are truly professionals. I wouldn't have known there was a problem. Except for Nick Cave's temper tantrum over some monitor problem where he apparently couldn't hear the keyboard he was playing. So he kicked it over. Tech guys scrambled and ducked glares and what not from Mr. Cave. One might surmise it was simply rock n roll dramatics, but even if this was the case, it was a fine performance. From inviting a call-and-response session of singing with the crowd to the artful arrangement of the set list, Nick Cave knows what his crowd will appreciate. And I always appreciate a good performance.

Bambi Lee Savage and her backing band for the evening, Denver's own o.g. line-up of Red Cloud West, gave an enjoyable and solid performance. You might know that I am more than a bit biased here, but I'll try to keep it objective. There were some vocal Bambi Lee and Red Cloud fans giving a few shout outs, many recognizing the Bambi Lee Savage song from the Slingblade soundtrack, and others recognizing a Red Cloud song (sung as a pretty duet between Ross Etherton and BLS,) but truth is, much of the crowd was antsy to see Nick Cave, and no opening band could really make those folks happy.

By the end of the evening, I'd decided a couple things. I was really glad to have been at the show. All the way through. It had that feeling of one that I'd be sorry I had missed if I hadn't gone (like PJ Harvey, or John Cale, or Daniel Johnston, or... well you know the type of show I mean.) And two, the energy of these die-hard Nick Cave fans, paired with the energy of the performance has spurred me to give more of the Nick Cave catalogue a closer listen. And that's a longer list of stuff to look forward to. Which is why I keep listening.

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