Leading up to the show I had what I now see as a premonition. In trying to text a bandmate that I was canceling due to attending the show I instead sent “Can’t practice, receiving Nick Cave tonight”. We laughed at my fat thumbs and/or auto correct but you know what? Everyone Sunday night at the Moody Theatre received Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in what had to be one of the best ACL performances I have seen in awhile, and for that matter – any performance as of recent.
There is little doubt to the career spanning achievement in crafting such diverse, noisy, storytelling moods and moments that is at the core of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – a career that has extended past 3 decades and yet this was their first taping for Austin City Limits.
Present touring company include original Bad Seed Barry Adamson and was rounded out by members of the past 20 or so years such as multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, Conway Savage and drummer Jim Sclavunos.
The show started off with back-to-back tracks from 2013’s Push the Sky Away, their latest album which supplied the night with a fourth of the set list. The vocal and key\string focused “We Real Cool” gave opportunity for the Bad Seeds to create a layered ambience while Nick Cave stretched his vocals in stunning display. One unique aspect from this show was the 2 catwalks that came out from the right and left side of the stage giving Cave more opportunity to connect with fans. If nothing else Nick Cave loves to embrace his music which at times comes through wild and abrupt body movements as seen heavily through the next few songs such as “Jubilee Street” and 1985’s “Tupelo.”
With so much material and a recent album it’s not surprising that much of the set list was from albums released over the last few years. I imagine his performance the previous night include a much different set – but Nick Cave did not disappoint in including such favorites as “Red Right Hand,” “From Her to Eternity” and one of my personal favorites in “Stagger Lee” off of Murder Ballads.
Throughout the night it was hard to not be captivated by the brilliance that was Nick Cave, and at those times when he embraced the audience out of my view I was equally astonished at how the Bad Seeds commanded my attention, most notably Warren Ellis and whatever he happened to be playing at the moment.
An hour and a half later as the show concluded and as the fans were leaving, I kept thinking I truly cannot wait for everyone to see this performance when it airs. I received Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and so should you.