SXSW 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Stubb’s

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  • Nick Cave @ Stubb's

    Words and Photos by Andrew Parks

    Having never seen Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds before, the idea of sparking our Wednesday night with a 75-minute performance from the living-and-not-the-least-bit-less-powerful-with-age legends was exciting enough to make the rest of the night–including the punchy but familiar Yeah Yeah Yeahs performance that followed a few hours later–seem irrelevant. Or as a profoundly drunk fan put it a couple songs in, “Don’t ever…fucking…stop…playing!” (He also said “I think I just pissed myself!” a few minutes later.)

    Here’s why a band that’s been flooring crowds since the early ’80s still has it: because their 55-year-old frontman is about as fearsome–and fearless–as he’s ever been, a consummate showman who commands the stage like it’s the post-punk equivalent of the Greatest Show on Earth. And he doesn’t need to be loud and lustful to do it, either, although that certainly plays a part in ramshackle songs like “From Her to Eternity,” “Stagger Lee” and “Jack the Ripper.” As the Bad Seeds proved with the Push the Sky Away sampler (“Higgs Boson Blues,” “Wide Lovely Eyes,” “Jubilee Street”) at the start of their set, they’re masters of melancholic restraint when they need to be, as adept at channeling turmoil and terror with spacious moments of near-silence as they are with bloodthirsty murder ballads and guillotine-like guitars.

    Hear what we mean by revisiting Wednesday’s NPR showcase in Spotify form below, right alongside some more photos from the front lines…

    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Stubb’s, 3.13.13:
    Higgs Boson Blues
    Wide Lovely Eyes
    Jubilee Street
    From Her to Eternity
    Red Right Hand
    Jack the Ripper
    Deanna
    The Mercy Seat
    Stagger Lee
    Push the Sky Away

    Nick Cave @ Stubb's

    Nick Cave @ Stubb's

    Nick Cave @ Stubb's

    Nick Cave @ Stubb's

    Nick Cave @ Stubb's