Thursday, 19 June 2014

Push the Sky Away

I braved a rather nasty cold to go see Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds tonight. And boy did I make the right call. I'd seen them once before, about 7 years ago, in a smaller venue in a bigger city (which strikes me as quite unusual in retrospect). But somehow, despite the fact that I was way at the back of this fairly big music hall, I enjoyed this show much more. Even the constant distractions in the form people walking up and down the aisles and from their seats and back (I really wonder why people can't just sit in one place for an hour together) didn't take away too much from the awesomeness of this band. They really blew me away.

There were three definite highlights for me, aside from the really strong opening three tracks which I wasn't previously familiar with and consequently can't name until I find the setlist. But coming back to the highlights, the first was naturally my all-time favourite song of theirs - From Her To Eternity - the song that first made me take notice of them. That it is featured in one my all-time favourite films - Wings of Desire - helps, of course, but the song itself is so powerful that I would've been drawn to it regardless. I positively squealed out loud tonight when Nick Cave began it with the classic "I want to tell you about a girl". No one else seemed to know or care for it much, but I jumped up from my seat and spent the whole song on my feet, swaying along with Nick. The second time I was compelled to get back on my feet was when they started playing Stagger Lee. This is a song that I only very recently got acquainted with thanks to a live version from their last tour on youtube. I was really hoping they'd play it and was so glad they did. Another incredibly powerful song and a tour de force performance from the whole band. That bassline is to die for. Also, Nick Cave's baritone works so beautifully in it, I must say.

The final song that really struck a chord with me tonight is the one I really wanted this post to be about (hence the title, which I wrote down first) - Push the Sky Away. They finished their set and the show, not counting the encore, with this song. And I really don't want to count the encore either because this was the perfect note to end on. It's the title song, and the closing track, from their latest album that came out last year. I hadn't listened to it before. I was listening to the album on my drive over, but reached the venue before I got to it. The lyrics gave it away so I knew what to look for right as soon as I got back to my car. I've listened to it over and over again since then. I don't know if I can describe what it means to me. The lyrics speak to me on a very personal level. And the music is such a good match for those words in how subdued and yet insistent it is.

Also, by a strange coincidence, it fits in with my post from yesterday. This song so eloquently says everything I struggled to express there. And it does so with such exquisite economy of words and tones, too.

This is what I live for. For nights like this. For discovering songs like this. Thank you Nick Cave. Thank you Bad Seeds.

I was originally going to link this recorded version of the song because it has the lyrics in the video. But I really love the live versions of this song so much more. They have an extra something. Immediacy perhaps. I also think I prefer the male backing vocals. And whatever instrument it is that Warren Ellis plays (if anyone knows what it is, do leave me a note below) sounds so much more fuller live.

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