Monday, August 4, 2014

Live: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Gogol Bordello

Ever since I started dating Greg, I have been attending a ton more live music shows than ever in my life. I love music. I also like seeing bands perform live. I just haven't often had friends who enjoyed going to live shows or we/I were too poor to obtain tickets. Thus most of my live performance experiences were seeing my awesomely talented friend Dale Wicks perform in nearby bars and coffee shops when there were no tickets required for entry or mine was comped. (You rock, Dale!)

So when it was announced that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were going to be performing at the (purportedly haunted) Masonic Temple in Detroit, Greg bought us tickets. This required me getting a night off of work, and it was totally worth it. My brother has always been a big Nick Cave fan, and when I shared a room with my friend Sherelle in California, we often fell asleep listening to, among other songs, "Red Right Hand." (I've also danced to that song countless times at various goth clubs because duh.) I can't say I'm a Nick Cave fan exactly, but I like him, I like what I have heard of his music, his voice is beautifully rich and deep, and Greg was stupid excited about seeing him live, this being one of his "bucket list bands." (Greg is now like two concerts away from dying happy.) 

Nick Cave is not a bad looking guy, though I am not a fan of his hair for most of his life. But the way he moves on stage is totally sexy. Greg says sinister. I don't know if this was done on purpose (I'm going to look at all future concerts to see if the same happens at them), but the lights cast an uninterrupted shadow of Nick Cave, and occasionally Warren Ellis, onto the side wall of the closed theater boxes that looked like a creepy prancing skeleton. It was awesome!! 

Nick Cave likes to hop around a lot on stage, and was always urging fans forward to put their hands up in the air to touch. He also spent about half of the concert out amongst the audience where fans were encouraged to put their hands on him. At one point he realized his fly was down and asked "How long has it been like that?" Whether it was the pants' doing or a grabby audience member's, who can say? So if you get a chance to see Nick Cave live yourself, spring for the pricey front and center seats for a chance to feel him up. (I'm mostly jesting here. I think it's cool when performers make contact with their admirers, and as far as I could see everyone was respectful.)

I don't have any pictures of this concert both because it was too dark for my phone and we were asked (and occasionally heckled by Nick Cave) to not take pictures or video. I wish I could have gotten one shot, though. I don't remember for which song it was, but during one segment Nick waved at people to raise their hands and come forward while most of the rest of the audience simply raised their hands to him, palm out, elbow relaxed. I felt eerily as if I had been transported to some Christian Fundamentalist healing service, only dark and somewhat sinister. "This is what the Fundies are afraid of," I thought to myself in a moment of lightening bolt clarity. It was creepy. 

Obviously, the concert was f*cking awesome. Nick Cave puts on an amazing show, and I enjoyed watching Warren Ellis whale on his violin, throw the bow high over his shoulder, and the roadie run after it more times than I could begin to keep track of. (His shadow-skeleton in these moments was mesmerizing.) I did not see any actual ghosts at the Masonic, though. I don't think. Maybe we were in the wrong part.

P.S. The woman who opened for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was also enjoyable, even in her weird, bleached out 70s-style mumu. If you like Nick Cave, check out Nicole Atkins

The very next night, Greg and I drove out to Royal Oak to see Gogol Bordello perform. Gogol Bordello is an international "gypsy punk band." Some of their songs, to me, bordered on ska. And for your information, gypsy ska is f*cking awesome. The high energy of everything Gogol Bordello played (and their opening act Man Man) was almost exhausting to listen to, but so catchy and dancey that it was hard to stay still. The audience was all over the place, throwing beers in the air and across the room and running from one end of the theater to another like gerbils trapped in a cage without a wheel. 

Since I had never heard Gogol Bordello before, I spent the afternoon before the show listening to their music on their website. I was happy when they played a couple of the songs at the concert, and I was able to sing along to the chorus of "The Other Side of Rainbow." I've seen the other side of rainbow, it was black and white - it was black and white! (Dance break.) The way to freedom, the way to freedom that I used to know is in the deeper, is in the deeper knowing of my soul.

Gogol Bordello is obviously quite different from Nick Cave. Two bands, two nights, two totally different energies. That's how we roll. Evidently, so do a lot of other people because we recognized a lot of faces in the crowd in Royal Oak from Detroit, and one guy asked if we'd been at the Masonic for Nick Cave  (so had he) because Greg was wearing the Nick Cave shirt he'd bought the night before. Rock on!

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