well, my ears are the worse for wear, but i think i can still type…
kid congo powers opened the show (w/ his pink monkey birds)–as you may remember from the 1989 tour movie, the road to god knows where, kid congo plays a mean, um, lap.
he also played w/ one of the state’s favorite country bands, slim cessna’s auto club recently in new york.
though i’m not wild & crazy about the pink monkey birds, both the auto club and the bad seeds, cave and slim, sport an attitude and a musical edge that makes for amazing records and mind-blasting shows. they mix old-testament, gut-check rant and verse w/ stones-esque, soul-man swagger, they put it all together on impeccable records (the auto club’s cipher and the bad seeds dig!!! lazarus dig!!! vie for my album-of-the-year affections), and they obviously love to play live.
the bad seeds opened w/”hold on to yourself” (my favorite song from the new album): mick harvey’s acoustic guitar and sclavunos & wylder’s rhythm section punctuated warren ellis’ ingenious soundscapes (he was playing a mandocaster, an amplified violin, sleigh bells and other percussion, and god knows what else through the night, w/ wild, hairy, gypsy-man abandon; as nick said, “he’s an animal”–and by the way, go out and buy any dirty three album you don’t already have, you can thank me later), all while nick asked, “does jesus only love a man who loses?”
good question. as nick sung and ranted about ali baba and his 40 thieves launching his baby off the face of the world (“hold on to yourself”), about poor, ressurrected lary (dig!!! lazarus dig!!!), about weeping songs w/ more weeping to come, about torching heads in the electric-chair “mercy seat,” about the exploits of the joe sixpack-gone-awry stagger lee (to name but a few), the greasy, 51 year-old aussie-cum-british songster must’ve disturbed the spirits of the Nation’s Capital. w/ the “moral sneeks in the white house” line in “god is in the house” (off 2001’s no more shall we part), the bass and piano slipped out of sync. after one, two, and three failed restarts, nick had to admit “this one hit’s too close to home here.”
it may have, but i must say that slim cessna’s auto club knows a bit more about filling a sweaty little barroom w/ believers and fanatics. the 930 club house was full of pudgy professional types, alternately clutching drinks and secretly bopping heads. hmmm. it felt a bit too close the the “more news from nowhere” video, minus the dancers.
but the encore got people shouting requests, some of the grizzly, mad scientists of the bad seeds cracked smiles, and the band punched home “your funeral, my trial” & the aforementioned “stagger lee” w/ as much volume as is humanly absorbable (or more?).
i wish i had video to show of conway savage’s laconic shaker work or jim sclavunos’ hip twitching percussion work standing behind his kit. i recently saw the stones on the big screen for martin scorcese’s shine a light, and though mick jagger can still hop & shimmy, and kieth richards can still riff (sort of–though the man should steer clear of the vocal mic, dear god), and i can say that there aren’t any 50 year-olds, save patti smith, that i’d rather spend an evening losing my hearing to (or all that many 20 year-olds).
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