1. Nick Cave is not dead yet. Without hanging too much on the whole “Lazarus” metaphor, Nick Cave does seem to be back to doing what he does best. The greasy factory as church and even greasier congregation groping through the darkness as they approach judgment? Yeah, still intact. (SEE “We Call Upon the Author”) Biblical parables that veer into porno and somehow emerge as romance? Yup. (SEE “Lie Down Here (and Be My Girl)”) Songs that start out delicately and comforting with the patient beauty of an emerging butterfly before shaking you awake with visions of baby-eating wolves? Hell yes! Literally. (SEE “Midnight Man”).
2. Nick Cave got right to the point: grainy visions of car-crashes, dead babies, flesh-eating and reanimated corpses dragging themselves through the first four songs. The masses rejoiced at the hurricane force of the twentysomething year old (!) “Tupelo” and a wickedly relevant “Weeping Song,” but it was during the overcoated come-on of “Red Right Hand” that the possibility of witnessing an actual murder seemed nigh. Annoyed by sound glitches, Cave kicked the keyboard and music stand almost into the crowd. The skittering techie folk braced themselves for an impending boot stomp while frantically putting the pieces back together. Quite the “There but for the grace of God, go I” moment. I hope those guys are OK.
3. Warren Ellis says “Blixa who?” Once onstage, it was every eye-gazin’- on Nick Cave as he and the Bad Seeds kept up a furious pace. The five others onstage (One drummer will not suffice! ) stayed in the background, save for the oddly amusing physical stylings of Ellis, who in his red open-collared shirt and medallions looked like a cross between a lounge lizard and and George Harrison’s evil twin. Early on he alternated between playing and humping his violin, and as the show-closing “Stagger Lee” was winding down, he seemed to be just picking up random instruments/toys, banging them on some body part until deciding to play the last few notes of the evening on a flute. (Of course!)
4. As a lapsed Nick Cave enthusiast, the “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” tour seemed a fitting time to come clean and take part in the darkly celebratory rite that is a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show. I confess to bailing on the sparse crooning of The Boatman’s Call and following that, just straight up neglect. The songs on Lazurus are more in line with the overwrought, desperate stories full of oily characters and pooling blood that I used to know and love. Hallelujah, indeed!
5. Nick Cave forgives all. Post-show, this “reviewer” shuffled through the alleys of Callowhill, maneuvered through the multitude of semi-goth cowboys with Jarvis Cocker specs and their Burton-striped ladies as I tried to remember the way home under a gloomy, yellow half-moon. Head buzzing, I proceeded past the graveyards of Laurel Hill and over the Ridge and arrived at my destination. I polished off my portion of fatted calf as I parked my blood red Subaru station wagon and went inside to see what the hell happened at the debate — happy to learn that our team won. All is forgiven.
TEXT BY JAY BEVENOUR/PHOTOS BY TIFFANY YOON