Nick Cave bares his soul in Melbourne

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Nick Cave bares his soul in Melbourne

Nick Cave Melbourne
Nick Cave @ Beacon. Credit: Sacha Lecca
Words by Coco Veldkamp

Within the opulent expanse of Jeff's Shed, an eclectic congregation of Nick Cave devotees eagerly gather. 

Against a backdrop of a solitary grand piano and a lone amp, both bathed in a soft, sweeping spotlight, Cave’s evolution as a solo artist is starkly evident. From his roots as the frontman of The Birthday Party to his tenure with The Bad Seeds, Cave’s career has been defined by a fearless exploration of the human experience.

Tonight is no different. Gone are the theatrics of his band work; instead, what transpires is an intimate communion between Cave, his music, and his devoted followers.

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As the lights dim, a hushed anticipation blankets the room. Then, in the silence, Nick Cave emerges. Resplendent in a sleek black suit and crisp white shirt, he is greeted by a lively roar from the crowd. Joining him on stage is none other than Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood on bass guitar.

With the opening notes of The Girl in Amber, Cave has the crowd ensnared, his commanding presence palpable in every word and gesture. Amidst applause, a fervent fan professes their adoration, to which Cave earnestly reciprocates, affirming, “I love you too, I really do.”

Acknowledging a recent “fucking amazing” release from The Bad Seeds, Cave clarifies, “This is not the Bad Seeds; this is something entirely different.” And indeed, it is—an evening stripped of the punkishness of the band, leaving only Cave and his soul laid bare.

Cave introduces a “song that got lost along the way”. He explains that, after receiving an underwhelming response when he showed the song to the band, it was “unfairly pushed into a dark corner, and I am pulling it out”. He jokes, “It’s called euthanasia – it’s a sad one”. As he plays the expectantly tender and heartrending song, the audience responds with resounding applause, prompting Cave to jest, “I told you it was a great song”.

Throughout the night, Cave’s vocal range defies description, seamlessly shifting from spoken word to full-throated vibrato with effortless precision. Classics like O Children and Mercy Seat take on new life in their stripped-down renditions.

As the night draws to a close, a standing ovation erupts, a testament to the profound impact of Cave’s performance. Reluctant to part ways with his audience, he graces them with an encore, treating them to four additional songs that leave them yearning for more.

In the grandeur of the MCEC, Nick Cave delivers a performance that transcends mere entertainment, leaving an indelible mark on all who bear witness to his artistry.

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