Nick Cave: Abattoir Blues Tour

By: Chris Pacifico

If the two concert DVDs and the completely different 2-CD 2004 European tour highlights included here aren't enough to make you buy this set then the fantastic performance by modern music's greatest singer of dark narratives will. Australia's biggest badass export since Ned Kelly, Nick Cave exhibits his live prowess on the 2003-2004 Abattoir Blues/Lyre Of Orpheus tour.

Some of the theatres the Bad Seeds played had classic old world architecture with above average acoustics, ideal spaces to become ample sonically encompassed. The female backing vocalists coo and hit goosebump notes while Warren Ellis's violin casts a ghastly impendence that creaks all through the album like something under the floorboards in Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.

The delicate wind of "O Children" serves as the ethereal opener before immediately going into the rickety soul-shuffle of "Hiding All the Way". "Get Ready for Love" is a gospel-punk barnburner with the dual percussion of Jim Sclavunos and Thomas Wydler making its presence known as the crowd in Paris vigorously chants along to the "Hey! Ho!" in the chorus of the dramatic "Supernaturally." The audience in Copenhagen nearly loses it shit from the moment that the bell chimes on "Red Right Hand" as Conway Savage takes the piano for a lilt and James Johnston sifts the organ around.

"Let the Bells Ring" is a tearjerker, due in part to Cave dedicating it to Johnny Cash seconds before the band plays it. He goes on to dedicate "The Weeping Song" to former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld. What's rather diagnostic about the Abattoir Blues Tour is how it's Cave's craggy baritone that's the focus of each song but the listener can still careen along, riveted by the band's instrumentation as well. Rarely do live albums come close to making it on year-end best of lists but there is a first time for everything.

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Comments

mrkrinkle6884 starstarstarstar Thu 9/6/2007 07:36PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mrkrinkle6884

Nice review of a GREAT musician. ( Or should I say musicianS, seeing how the Bad Seeds play a very integral part of his sound.) I soon will be picking up this album. I wish they would have told us the featured songs on the 2-disc set, but I guess I will have to spend a whole 5 seconds and go to amazon.com.