Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the Silver Screen |Eden Court, 12th April, 2018|

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the Silver Screen  |Eden Court, 12th April, 2018| Cornwallace

As I sit down to write this, it is exactly a week ago that I was sitting in the La Scala cinema at Eden Court, watching the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds gig that had been recorded live and then put out to cinemas across Europe as a once off event, all on the same night.  I am starting writing at the equivalent of one hour into the show last week, on Thursday the 12th of April, meaning it has about 1 ½ hours still to go. 

 

It might have been simulcast (if this is still the right word) further outside Europe also, but I didn’t give myself a lot of time to read the details of it.  Also I really didn’t have to read the fine print to be sold on the event.  I was thinking about it anyway, and then there was a last minute nudge from Fremsley, who was also keeping the company of the good company he tends to keep. 

It was a different angle into seeing a Nick Cave show, and this is something I was always going to be interested in.  So meeting them with a few minutes to spare to say hi, I launched straight from decision into seeing the event.  It was a good decision, in the end.

 

It is a hard thing to try and judge.  The first thing that I thought after coming out of the cinema – well, there were a few competing thoughts right at the time.  One that has stayed with me is ‘gigporn’. 

I have been to see them a number of times.  They are one band that I will just try to see come what may, because of how flat out good they are at what they do.  This particular concert that was recorded was from the ‘Distant Sky’ tour for the Bad Seeds, at a gig in Copenhagen in October 2017, so I read. 

With class and style and energy and playing with the crowd they as a band are and also how sharp and tight and professional they are as a unit – and it being recorded –  it was almost always guaranteed to being a fucking good gig. 

All of this was there and on show and captured beautifully by the recording.  They had up close and personal cameras on all the band members.  For me getting to see Warren Ellis is part and parcel of how compulsive it is to want to see them, and how charged up and bouncing the gigs are in their up moments.  I like seeing all band members, but something about Jim Sklavunos this gig stood out as well, on an array of instruments.

They know how to play their audience, and bring the mood up and down and to weave in songs together across decades that work well together as a running order for the songs.  There were also close ups of the piano that Nick Cave did some songs on and added in short bursts to some other songs also.  He had the running sheet in big lettering you could see.  Not sure if I liked that or not.  But on it there was from memory just after half way though the set list a run of ‘From Her to Eternity,’ ‘Tupelo,’ ‘Red Right Hand,’ and then it fell from there into the second half, being more like 80-90 minutes, which included ‘The Weeping Song,’ Stagger Lee’, ‘Jubilee Steet’ and managed to finish with songs from the more recent albums such as ‘Skeleton Tree,’ and ‘Push the Sky Away,’ the titled song for which being their final crowd involving and crowd pleasing finish to the encore. 

It was so well done, and well captured, and I really enjoyed watching it.  But inescapably there is a counterbalance to that in my head, an aspect that I can’t shake in terms of the experience.  It was that it was a great gig, but I wasn’t at it. 

I wasn’t gonna go follow the band around the world or anything, so it gave me an experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.  It also immersed me in that experience as much as it possibly could.  But there is another important factor here.  It’s a major fact behind The Nettle being up and going as well.  All at Nettle just love live music. 

 

I’m sure that we’re in the majority with most potential readers here, if any, as also with everyone in the world generally.  This is as we are correct that live music is just one of the best experiences one can have. 

Please don’t start comparing it to your first born child and such, I’m just saying it’s just that live gigs are a good thing in this whole ‘life’ thing.  This was a great gig and I have seen them live a number of times before and I can very clearly imagine the time that the crowd were having. 

But I was sitting in a sedate theatre, not rolling and sweating and singing and dancing and melting into the whole show like I would have been if I was there.  The fact that it was a recording of a live show, as opposed to being at that live show, is a thing.  It’s where the idea of gigporn won’t be shaken.

 

You’ll have your own thoughts on both recorded concerts vs being there, for the positive and negative both ways, most likely.  In the same way you’ll have your own opinion on porn, I imagine, so sorry if this is not an analogy that works for you. 

For me it just means that my experience of the gig would have gone up to a place that a virtual or recorded experience of an event can’t reach.  But for what a recording can do, it was a great gig.

 

For me, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are just one of those bands that are so good live that you just want to make sure you take every experience to see something that they do.  As an aside, this is one reason I was so annoyed I missed Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 gig in Forres last weekend because of being sick.  Not good timing at all.  I’m sure you have your own examples of these must see bands.  Or at least I hope this for you.

 

The Bad Seeds – or Grinderman, who are a subset of the same musicians, are must see’s for me.  For this particular recording, this was always going to be an emotional concert, the last 2 albums having strong associations with the feelings following the death of one of his children, at the age of 15.  This topic is also front and centre in the documentary ‘One more time with feeling.’  It’s meant to be great, I’ll see it but haven’t yet.

There are a range of elements that all come together to make them a great live act.

 

Nick Cave has a great literary strength which is a part and parcel of the songs, along with the voice and what the Bad Seeds all uniquely bring to it.  It works on so many levels, it is what makes it both a class act and a mesmerising act as well.  When you know they are being puppet-masters to yourself and deciding on up moods, down moods, slow, angry, brooding like the version of ‘The Mercy Seat’ they played in Copenhagen also – really any mood they decide upon the crowd got swept up in.  You know it, you realise it but you willingly roll with it.  As I say, they are good at what they do.

 

A week out from the concert I still grapple with the base element of it being a recording of a concert, rather than the experience of being at a live gig, which unfairly I think is an experience the recorded version can’t stand up to. 

But it was a great thing to see, and much cheaper, and just over at Eden Court, so I loved it anyway. 

Unlike me, you might like recorded gigs more instead, in which case hopefully you were there.

 

I think as a medium, this definitely has legs.  I also think that the idea of it being at somewhere like Eden Court is appropriate as well, for the cinema itself and what they show, as well as the size of the theatre. 

There was great energy in the cinema, but it wasn’t the same as being there.  Again, ‘gigporn’ rears up when I’m trying to get my head around it. 

 

But it made me want to write this week, as the beauty and the flat out brazen open ability of his lyrics give images continuously, and it made me want to write.  And I’ve been listening to them all week since.

 

Maybe that it the point on which it all rests.  It’s good enough at least for me to end on. 

 

It you think otherwise to any of my opinions above, it’d be interesting to read your opinion.  

I think that there’s an option to put comment on here somewhere.  WD, can you answer this question?…

Bad Actress | The Market Bar | 5th April

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I thought for my first bit of writing here I would be a bit creative. I think I’m better at creative writing than reflective, so I’ll give this a little bash. Bad Actress seemed like an apt band to see. I’m a good actress so it balances out the evening’s entertainment quite well. 

So I’m into country, folk, and anything that sounds good whilst I’m driving around being awesome.

For a person like me, that typically means I like middle of the road music.  Did you see the clever pun I made there. Middle of the road because I drive listening to music.  I drive all over the highlands listening to this stuff. 

I’ve not written an online blog before, but I liked the idea of getting involved with all the local performers in the Inverness music scene, and the market bar seemed like the best way to begin working my way through this. 

I’ve a fair bit of history with the market bar, in fact, my father told me that he -single-handedly – with two others – created the music scene himself. There’s a hazy bit at the end of the story, but there always is, you know fathers!

Lets not get into details,  so it feels important that I, as heir to his legacy,  I 

Sorry, I’ve been talking about me too much – better than dissecting my friends lives behind their back, but I have some work to produce, so without further delay here is ForeHead Moana’s review of Bad Actress:

Bad Actress – The Market Bar – 5th April

I’ll confess, I arrived a little late, I would have been earlier, but I had run out of Mediterranean fever tree tonic at home, and had to get some more. Daddy gave me a run out to get some then into town with my little hipflask full of joyful goodness.

That little folly unfortunately meant that I was a little late for the first band, The Hunt, but I’m sure they will be back to share their art in the future.

I did arrive in time to see Bad Actress though, a five piece band from Muir of Ord.

The night goths were out too, along with acoustic guitar playing in the smoking area outside. I felt like the guitarist was playing just for me, it was beautiful, I didn’t catch his name regrettably, but he was possibly a bit to young for me anyway.

The bar was fairly full, with an alleged* mix of the cast of ‘the craft’ alongside potential extras from the ‘lost boys’ film.

I ordered myself some fizz in a retaining glass, and settled in. The drummer had a microphone with him, so I figured he was going to do the Dave Grohl thing, though a friend later clarified that Dave Grohl didn’t sing when he was in Nirvana, and in fact I was being an idiot.

I could just have edited that out and referenced the Kiss drummer, Peter Criss as a better example, but I was probably still right in some sense.

The band was a five piece. Thankfully, perhaps not for me, but for you; I’ve been tortured musically by enough ex-partners in the past to have enough of an understanding of rock music to be able to convey what they sounded like, at least to me. Their warming up noises sounded a bit like Van Halen, but by eleven o’clock they were still getting ready. This, again was later clarified to be that I’d missed the support act, and it was in fact me that had been at fault; but not before I’d run the bloody hippies into the ground. 

The first song struck, and it was rock. My eardrums weren’t burst, or ringing when it concluded. Given that the beautiful pine walls of the Market Bar give the place a unique sound resonance, and that the band were a rock/metal outfit, this in my view means that the time setting up was well spent. I could hear all the instruments, and the vocals, they were loud, but not obnoxious. Given that I’d taken enough gin to get through what i thought was going to be ear murder, this was rather pleasing, it was looking good.

The singer started hopping about the tables and alcoves like a lone seagull trying to play a cross between hide and seek, and an intimidating lone bird extra from Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds. Although instead of pecking my eye out I was expecting my drink to be kicked over. This didn’t happen, thankfully, or we would have been referencing Psycho, rather than Birds.

The lead lept backwards onto the pine goodness…
Serenadeing the audience

The crowd/disciples were loving it though, the build up to the second song had lots of crowd clapping before breaking into it’s full flow. At this point I noticed that the rhythm guitarist bore an uncanny resemblance to what I imagine local dad and omnipotent drum hero Richard ‘Dickie’ Bills would look like if he was born in the nineties, or noughties; I’m not sure these days, some considerable time after me anyway.

Not Dickie Bills. Or related, probably.

Our big haired lead singer had a deep Iggy Pop sort of voice along with a higher Guns ‘n’ Roses esq. sound on the high end. There was another vocalist he reminded me of, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Third song, I was semi sure was Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith, until they started singing. Well, until they told the crowd it was called Drinker, or Rooker.  I may need my ears syringed, or work on passive listening. I’ve been told my passive aggression is fine, so passive listening shouldn’t be too hard to master, haha. Er, regardless, the song evolved a bit into more of a Deep Purple feel, but with James Hetfield from Metallica as the singer. James Hetfield if he had never smoked. Still trying to place the deep voice.

I’ve teleported to here, fear my holler

I’ll reafirm by the fourth song there’s definitely an Axl Rose mid-range, and either the ting-tingy bit of the cymbal being hit, or a cowbell. We need more cowbell. This song is a bit too close to Rainbow for my liking. The Rocking Rainbow, not the Geoffrey, Bungle and George Rainbow, although either would be bad.

The band is happy, hairy and engaging as they hit the addicted to love style song, Big bad Ally Mac [sic] carried the singer about on his shoulders, whilst the drummer did the rolling majorette drum stick spinning trick. These guys are good performers, and entertainers, it’s nice to see a bit of theatre in music, and not have to be covered in hair sweat and be in Glasgow to see it whilst your boyfriend insists in dragging you around with his moronic friends.

It’s nice not to then have listen to him to wax lyrical about it for months afterwards, like you shared some sort of magical moment;  with your only solace being  that you can torture him for months with reruns of Sex and the City, Ally McBeal or Eastenders omnibuses. 

Above; a flick of the hair and a riff to go with.

In this haze of daydreaming something happened. 

The Guitarist had changed guitars, but seemed to be having technical issues with the new one too, perhaps the cord was faulty, or the speaker?

 

The drummer kept the crowd alive whilst the fault was being resolved in the background, with a resounding drum solo that you would imagine would be filmed in black and white from various angles if you were watching it on the tv.

New guitar, and back in the room!

The instrument dilemma was resolved shortly after this and the lead guitarist reappeared, and took to table standing too. The bar initially wasn’t up for chanting “low down and dirty” to get a song up and running, but by midway through the band had them singing it with the responsiveness of a horse (or pony) that had just been offered a sugar cube.
There was an odd combination of eucalyptus and sweat wafting round the room at that point. Not sure why. 

 

 

 

 

The night almost finished with the Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson, but the Highland twangs of “one more tune” produced a drum and vocal fast paced version of “Never Going to give you Up” 

Rick Astley, that’s who his deep voice was like. Bloody Rick Astley.

The gig was good. I’m not a big rock/metal fan, but these guys were entertaining, and the music was good on the ears. I’ve been to Metal bands at the market before and not lasted more than two drinks, but this was enjoyable. Sorry I missed the supporting act, perhaps someone else will be able to catch them.

*all characters in this entry are purely fictional, and any resemblance to real life characters is purely coincidental.

Sofar | The Music Shop | 06-04-2018

Reading Time: 8 minutes

 

SoFar Sounds lands in Inverness – Friday 6th April 2018:
this could be the start of a beautiful relationship

 

[Irrelevant introduction – please skip if you want to know about the music rather than someone dribbling some stream-of-consciousness shite…]

Okay, sure, that subtitle may have been stolen from some classic old silver-screen film.  Or Bugs Bunny spoofing such a movie.  Anyway, it came from somewhere deep in the back recesses of my brain.  If it was more important, then I would work to some journalistic standard and chase up such a quote.  But to be honest, it took me a day to think of anything besides the title “SoFar So Good.”  Which is nice a nice play of words and all, but get the feeling that this is the most obvious go-to phrase for the 1st Sofar Session in a place.  Without actually knowing I got the feeling it would have been used over and over again, so I felt that I had to rise to the challenge of avoiding it.  Until I mentioned it anyway…

There is this old story about this tree on a plain in Africa, which stretches out forever and has 6-7 roads which are straight as a die. intersecting near this tree, which is the only object on the flat plain as far as the eye can see.  It may well be an apocryphal story, but it came to mind when trying to avoid the use of this obvious title.  The story goes that there are car crashes hitting this tree all the time.  As it is the only thing on the plain to focus on to drive towards, people just get mesmerised and aim for it.  Successfully, unfortunately, in the end.  Anyway, I didn’t quite avoid the term myself, but hopefully enough of you took the warning re the irrelevancy of this section anyway.  So, to the actual night…]

 

MC for the night, Ellen, excellent person generally and seriously talented in her own right as a singer. Notice how professionally the background crowd are blurred out for vague anonymity? Couldn’t have done that if I’d tried!

 

 

SoFar makes it to Inverness!

SoFar Sounds is a thing.  It is in about 800 different cities and towns across the world now, so they say.  If you want to find out more about it, then check it out officially here

Essentially it is small, intimate gigs in small, intimate spaces.  This one was the first in Inverness, and was held up in the top floor of the newly moved Music Shop on Church Street.  However, the idea is that it could be in a place like this, or in people’s lounge rooms or back yards.  The variation possible is only limited by the imagination, and I get the feeling that there’s some reasonable expansiveness in the imagination of the organisers of this event, so it’ll be good to see what and where it goes from this start of the journey.

Apart from a rambling disconnected introduction, there are 2 parts to this review.  First is this overview of the concept of SoFar Sounds and the set up for the night, and then I’ll get to the actual music being played on the night.

Firstly I should say that the set-up to get a ticket was a bit of a faff, to be honest.  I think that this is mostly setting up an account/ profile on the system in the first instance, but not all of it.  Being informed about this by friends more in the know than me, I was keen.  I wanted to get a ticket and then organise pre-session drinks to catch up.  However, after requesting a ticket they went back and had to assess it.  The website said it was seeking a balanced audience and a few other things, but trying to lock in plans for the night and then having to wait until the next day to find out if I’d got a ticket was a bit strange and inconvenient – but it was the only downside for the night, and it wasn’t even on the night. 
I’m hoping this fluff is easier next time.  I accept that they are small gigs and will fill up fast as it is a genuinely good concept well done.  So don’t let such shenanigans put you off.  With 800 places doing it I guess there’s a logic to it.  But still…

The set-up of the night was that there were 3 acts performing.  All were good, and all different from each other.  That’s the next section.  Apologies, there were introductions on the night, but nothing written down – makes sense I guess for a secret gig with secret performances.  However, this translates into some potentially inaccurate naming of acts below.

 

Gray and Peitch [sic].

This was a double-act as the first performance for the night.  Apologies, I don’t know if this is the correct spelling, but not having it written down, these things can happen.  However, we have a photo of them for you, which is even better!

Gray and Peitch [maybe the spelling is horribly wrong here – apologies if it is]

This was a good way to start the show.  Actually, as an aside, the running order felt correct throughout.  These two though are simply some seriously amiable chaps, one would have to say.  In terms of their on-stage presence, the overall impression is that apart from being good at what they do, they really like playing together.  The things that come back to me are them playing with their eyes closed as they were just into the music.  That, and smiling a lot. 

The music itself was a really interesting combination.  The fiddle is the bit that is easier to pin down.  Beautiful, mournful, traditional, playful, all that sort of stuff.  Where the music came into its own and added something genuinely different was the counter-play between this and the keyboard.  I must admit that I’m a bit reticent to pigeon-hole the keyboard here, as it was diverse, and anything I say won’t be wrong as such, but more ‘incomplete’ in providing a picture.  However, the overriding impression I got was of classic 80s piano riffs, the sort that hold together all range of pop(ish) music, particularly ballads, of that decade and maybe the ones either side of it.  The general effect of the trad fiddle with this, combined with their talent was really enjoyable.  Don’t expect AC/DC to pound out at you, but if you get a chance to see them, I highly recommend them.  Hard to define succinctly, hopefully you see them and do a better job of that, but see them, definitely.

 

Nicki & Chloe [& Chloe]

Anyone with a guitar in their hand in this photo is named Nicki. Anyone with a fiddle, Chloe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicki and Chloe (middle Chloe in picture above) were and I believe are the main drivers in organising the whole SoFar Sounds and getting it off the ground in Inverness with this inaugural event.  So before going any further, just an aside to say i). ‘good on them!’; & ii). ‘thanks, and good luck.  Based on Friday night, I hope it grows into what you are hoping for it to be.’

That isn’t to be too sycophantic or anything, but anyone that wants to do something a little bit different and push out the variation of entertainment in Inverness is already on the positive side of the ledger for just making the effort.  To do it well like they did here is an added bonus.

As for their music, for me they are a clear representation of the talent that is floating in and around the music scene in Inverness.  I’ve seen them a few times in various spaces, and will continue to seek them out.  Nicki’s voice is one of those ones that you could just close your eyes and listen to all night.  Controlled, powerful, raspy goodness.  Combined with the violins and guitar, the effect of the music makes it one of those that just grabs your attention.  They have a great knack of playing with the mood, volume, tempo, etc. to great effect.  It seriously just draws you to listen and to be happy.  Probably happier than a range of the topics being sung about in all fairness, but then when people get all wistful and talk about how music can transcend such matters and all that ‘high-faloutin’ (that may well be Yosemite Sam coming in, now that I’ve planted Bugs Bunny in my brain above) sorta stuff, this is where they are coming from.  And these guys are in and around Inverness.  And I hope and think they’re going places. 

So far from the night, 2 for 2.  Yet something special was still to come…

Lional

Usually electric, Lional went acoustic for this set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now one of the good things about doing these reviews is that I get to play favourites.  This isn’t to besmirch the quality of the acts before, this I simply to say that for a few years Lional have been one of my favourite Inverness line-ups. 

They took a hiatus for a while, possibly just chilling out a little – definitely writing new songs too, it seems.  This is always an interesting element for someone who likes a band.  Ye Olde “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff” factor.  This combined with them being stripped back to acoustic.  Well, acoustic for the most part at least– I think that the singer accurately portrayed the drummers small portable kit as ‘Pet Shop Boys synth’ – not exactly acoustic for him then, or the keyboard player.  Maybe the term is ½ acoustic. 

Anyway, put yourself in the scenario.  One of your favourite bands is coming on last, but it’s new stuff and also semi-acoustic – yeah, that sounds more like the term – and the 2 acts before are some seriously good quality to have to back up.  And then the bass player walks in with a ladder to grab a guitar randomly off the wall, singer tunes it for a few seconds and there they are, off and running.  At this point in the night there’s anticipation as well as curiosity as to whether it’s going to live up to my own unfair expectations.

Happily these gentlemen are a class act for a reason, and they didn’t disappoint, despite the weight of my expectations unfairly on their shoulders.  For me, their style collects the best of Brit-Pop over a range of decades, and throws their own angle into the mix as well.  It’s just fucking catchy and enjoyable.  It was also good as the singer – while reticent to do so – threw in some of the stories behind some of the songs (all the acts of the night did this).  Having this, combined with the semi-acoustic nature and the up close and personal element meant that I concentrated on their lyrics a bit more than the standard ‘lose myself in the goodness’ that I have had when seeing them in the past, and this in itself added something a little extra for the night as well.  Either way though, it is good to feel that Lional are back and there’s more chances to see them hopefully over the summer.

Acts all together at the end of the night.

Looking back over this review, for the most part it all sweetness and light.  And to honest that’s how I felt at the time as well.  You could see that the organisers had placed a lot on their shoulders and really wanted it to work out.  And in this case, for this inaugural event, it definitely did.

As I mentioned, I thought the process for getting a ticket was a bit of a faff, but not enough to stop me from going again.  With different venues there’s always going to be all sorts of aspects to consider – for example the top of the Music Shop was a good place, a good size, but the acoustics were only ‘pretty good,’ as opposed to a music venue designed for the purpose.  Not bad, but it’ll be a factor for the organisers in events to come.

In saying that though, if they have the connections to continue to get the quality of acts that they did for this event, then the rest of it is most likely going to work out.  I wish them luck!