There is nothing to be sad about/Gonna give the gates a shove

I’m not sure what it was, but the last two concerts I’ve been to had a lot in common…

Last Wednesday, I saw Stereolab at the Troc…I’ve been a fan of theirs for a few years, and I really like their new album, Chemical Chords…they’re the kind of band that, while I can’t hum any of their songs, I know them (and like them) when I hear them…Just as the do on record, the band simply oozes cool onstage…singer Laetitia Sadier isn’t particularly animated, but the music doesn’t really warrant too many theatrics…at one point, she introduced a new song, “The Ecstatic Static”, and I was the only one who clapped…she looked down at me and smiled with a confused look and said, “Why, you’re the only one clapping!”…I think that part of what made the connection between Laetitia and the crowd a bit difficult was her accent…though Stereolab calls England home, Laetitia herself is French, and even in the songs it’s kind of hard to understand what she’s saying…this leads to a lot of their songs being misinterpreted, as the lyrics are often very dark, standing in contrast the the bubbly pop music…some of the highlights of the set were “Neon Beanbag”, “Self Portrait With ‘Electric Brain'”, and “Three Women”, all from the new album, as well as some of their more experimental jams…also, one of the opening bands, Pittsburgh’s The Van Allen Belt, were really good, even though their album isn’t produced as well as I imagined it would be…

C'est le plus beau/Paysage du monde Stereolab play around a lot with the balance of happiness and darkness, whereas Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds play around with the balance of darkness and more darkness (though Dr. Cave himself would probably argue that)…

Beginning with a set from ex-Gun Club/Cramps/Bad Seeds guitarist Brian “Kid Congo Powers” Tristan and his band, Nick Cave took to the electric light-flanked stage of the Electric Factory…with a new album for 2008, the tremendous Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, and over 25 years of back catalogue, it was a career-spanning free-for-all over a few hours…starting off with the slow-burning “Hold Onto Yourself”, the band kicked it with the title track to the new disc…speaking of kicking, that’s just what Cave did to his organ when he tried to play his solo in “Red Right Hand”…finding that something was wrong after attempting the first few notes, he gave the organ a swift boot, knocking it and his music stand over…Like his music, Nick Cave is a misunderstood guy…he’s got a great sense of humor and clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously…what he does take seriously is entertainment, and he is one hell of a showman…between running around from one end of the stage to the other and changing around the lyrics to some of the songs to reflect people in the crowd, Cave showed off something too many performers lack: showmanship…on top of all that, the songs were incredible…at the end, I got a setlist, but upon reading it I found that it wasn’t the set from that night (!!)…from memory, the standouts included “The Weeping Song”, “We Call Upon The Author” and a singalong version of “The Lyre Of Orpheus”…the level of musicianship among the Bad Seeds was also incredibly high, especially in the case of multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, who is also a part of Cave‘s Grinderman project, and has the look you’d expect from a member of the Bad Seeds

The Beast it cometh, Tupelo bound

That was, without a doubt, one of the best show’s I’ve seen all year…and I’ve seen a lot, don’tcha know!

More pictures from Stereolab and Nick Cave (as well as many other shows) can be found here

Coming soon: Jonathan Richman @ First Unitarian Church, Los Straitjackets and Laika & The Cosmonauts @ World Cafe Live

Stay tuned…
E.

Lyric of the Time:
Stagger Lee throwed seven
Billy said that he throwed eight
So Billy said, hey Stagger! I’m gonna make my big attack
I’m gonna have to leave my knife in your back

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~ by E. on October 9, 2008.

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