» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

April 3, 2007
Rating: 8/10

Nick Cave is contradiction incarnate. Playing live, the man is absolutely masochistic; singing songs about God while swaggering across the stage like a guilt-wracked Mick Jagger - equal parts sinner and saint. His deep rumble of a voice often cries out menacingly sweet sentiment: "Get ready for love!" and "I'm down here for your soul!" During performances Cave is both a tortured hero chained to a mythological rock and a dirty letch on the lam for impregnating the farmer's daughter; the split in his personas, both on record and on stage, rivals even Bowie. Cave seems to revel in writing songs filled with both reverence for God and glorious debauchery - often in the same verse. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds latest release, The Abattoir Blues Tour, does nothing to address this schism - if anything, it celebrates it.

The sheer volume of material in The Abattoir Blues Tour is shocking. The package includes two CDs and two DVDs, both packed with music. The DVDs also hold a plethora of extras, including the making of the "Bring It On" video, which is basically an over-the-top sexy hip hop video with the Bad Seeds providing the soundtrack. For any Cave fans languishing over the The Abattoir Blues Tour's failure to come to the US, solace can be found here, as the concert footage is solid. The discs come packaged in a dark, bulky foldout adorned with an image of Cave grooving on stage, bathed it white light.

The live CDs draw content from half a dozen different shows on The Abattoir Blues Tour. Cave's voice is in top form on most of these songs and the result is some excellent, near studio quality tracks. The audience seems most enthusiastic about Cave classics like "Red Right Hand" and "Deanna," but the highlights of this collection are more recent fare like the gorgeous "Easy Money" and the double-fisted "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" - both of which serve to demonstrate Cave's staying power. Backing Cave up, the Bad Seeds are sharp, knowing when to back off and when to challenge Nick for supremacy. On the Johnny Cash tribute, "Let the Bells Ring," Mick Harvey and crew set a driving pace that forces Cave to powerfully bellow out lines like: See all of us that have come behind/ Clutching at your hem/ All the way from Arkansas/ To your sweet and last amen/ O' let the bells ring!

The DVD content features two complete live performances, the first from London's Brixton Academy in 2004 and the second from 2003's Nocturama tour. Both shows had very minimal production value - mostly Cave, the band and some colored lighting to set the tone. The stripped-down setting is appropriate, as extra stage distraction would be unnecessary; Cave is a madman - equal parts Mick Jagger, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Cave will rage violently one minute and the next will somberly beckon his lady: Come sail your ships around me/ And burn your bridges down.

The extras on the DVD include both the "Bring It On" video and a short film documenting its making, both of which are equally strange and hilarious. The video features gorgeous women in revealing outfits dancing in slow-mo stripper fashion to "Bring It On." Also present is singer Chris Bailey from seminal Australian punk band The Saints, trying valiantly to keep a straight face as a dozen gorgeous women gyrate around him. The making of "Bring It On," which was captured on video by Mick Harvey, shows the way the song must be played - twice as fast - in order to get the dancing properly synched with the music. It's a great behind the scenes moment with the band having fun. The strange dynamic of booty rap visuals as a backdrop for the eternally gothic Cave further serves to highlight his odd duality.

Nick Cave is about to turn 50. The half-century mark is a point at which many artists do some serious thinking about their life and their art, but for Cave this period of time seems to be one of his most fruitful. He may be 50, but Cave still makes great albums and bleeds on stage like a man half his age. Most performers allow age to become a barrier, stifling their creativity, but for Nick Cave it seems to be yet another odd contradiction that his age has not become an issue. If you want proof of Cave's ongoing genius, The Abattoir Blues Tour serves up a mountain of evidence.


"Bring It On" - Live at Hammersmith Apollo
real | windows

"Nature Boy" - Live At Brixton Academy
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"There She Goes My Beautiful World" - Live at Brixton Academy
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"Wild World" - Live at the Hammersmith Apollo
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SEE ALSO: www.nickcaveandthebadseeds.com
SEE ALSO: www.mute.com

Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other articles by Jon Burke.



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