It's now been well over a month since I drove up from Orlando (after my Universal vacation) to Atlanta to see Grinderman at the Variety Playhouse. The holidays and my own procrastination got in the way of me doing much blogging. It was an amazing experience, though, so I do want to tell you all about it!
The second I found out they were coming, I made arrangements to buy tickets. I woke up the second they went on sale and bought them. And after that, the event sort of got pushed to the back of my mind. But, as it drew closer, I did get really excited.
Grinderman is the new(ish) project of Nick Cave, of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds fame. This band departs quite a bit from the style of the Bad Seeds, and it honestly took a bit to grow on me. I'm probably not the target demographic for Grinderman's music. But after several listenings, I learned to love it and now I find myself frequently listening to their two albums while I'm in the car.
I wouldn't say that Nick Cave is my idol or that I have a celebrity crush on him or anything weird like that. But, I do admire him. More than any other artist. Ever. I have a huge amount of respect for the man and all the work he does. In addition to being a musician (since 1973), he is a songwriter, an author, a screenwriter, and an actor. He has also done several lectures. The man is not only talented, he is very intelligent and very eloquent. I am just blown away by the work he produces in each field he has attempted. So, having the opportunity to see Nick Cave live in itself was amazing to me.
Grinderman produce a far heavier sound than that of the Bad Seeds, complete with dirty-old-man lyrics, and though I can get why some people say that Grinderman is a throwback to Cave's days with The Birthday Party, the two bands really are apples and oranges. Both are great, but both are separate entities and it was very easy to see that in live performance.
Anyway, the night of the show, I ended up going by myself. I met someone in the front row and chatted to him for much of the show. We both seemed to be in awe that we were actually standing there. Before the show started, security kept telling everyone in the front row to keep the area of the stage in front of the monitors clear (there was no press area between the crowd and stage, because photography was not permitted). However, I wasn't quite prepared for Nick Cave standing directly in front of me, occasionally brushing me/stepping partially on me with his huge shoes, or towering over me with his huge, lanky frame.
From the very beginning, I was impressed. These guys are pretty old - Cave is now 53 and Warren Ellis, his right-hand man, is 45 - and they still put on an amazing show. They had so much energy and were so into every single movement they made, every note they produced. It was one of the most amazing things (not just concerts) I have ever seen.
I wish I had enough words to really do justice to the experience, but I don't. They were playing in (I think) Nashville the following night. And had I not had obligations at home, I definitely would've made the drive. It was that great.
The only photos I've seen from the show were taken by a fan. There was one fan chosen to be the official photographer at each show. Here are a few of them, taken by Jeffrey Shipman. You can see the rest over at grinderman.com under "images".
So, I guess in closing, my recommendation is to check out the albums and to see the band live if at all possible. I think they're done touring in the U.S. for now, but future tours may occur. I know I'm hoping for a new Bad Seeds album and tour - it would be nice to see both sides.
That's it for 2010. On to 2011! May the beginning of this new year suck significantly less than the first half of 2010.