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Monday, July 7, 2014

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Sat July 5

Posted by Matthew W. Sullivan on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Nick Cave in the crowd during Saturdays show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
  • Joel Lapp
  • Nick Cave in the crowd during Saturday's show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
A sold-put Schnitz saw the many modes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on Saturday night, with a setlist than managed to hit damn near every entry in the Seeds' 15-album catalog. Without the setlist in front of me, the only albums that I know for sure weren't represented were Nocturama and Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!, not counting the Kicking Against the Pricks covers album. And with Cave bouncing from apocalyptic preacher to balladeer to rabbler-rouser, it was pretty good cross-section of a storied career.

It also ruled.

After opening with the sparse “We Real Cool” from last year's Push the Sky Away, Cave asked “Is it always this dark up here?” After some stage lights flickered, he joked, 'Oh, it's the slow reveal.'” But instead of getting a stuffy concert hall performance from a musician who's often pegged as a "serious artist," Cave spent four or five songs singing from the middle of the crowd. By the time the three-song encore rolled around, he was signing autographs from the stage.

Mark Lanegan joins the Bad Seeds for The Weeping Song
  • Joel Lapp
  • Mark Lanegan joins the Bad Seeds for "The Weeping Song"
Highlights included an especially dark version of “Stagger Lee,” the mid-set run of piano ballads (“Into My Arms,” “Love Letter,” “God Is in the House”) while “Push the Sky Away” closed the set and left the crowd frozen. Opener Mark Lanegan joined the band onstage for “The Weeping Song.” The whole thing really could've been an hour longer.

But Bad Seeds band member Warren Ellis is the secret weapon here. Hand the man a violin and a distortion pedal, and it almost doesn't matter what anyone else does. I stopped counting the number of instruments he played after five. Warren Ellis should be in every band.

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