Monday, August 21, 2006

And the Ass saw...

When I was about 15 going on 21 I discovered Nick Cave. When I say discovered I mean, I knew of him and that he was around, but I'd never really contemplated him as anything more than an artist other people listened to. It wasn't until the summer of my mid teen years that I started realising that there was a big wide world of music around me outside the mainstream and this conscious shift all started with Nick Cave. I think you'll agree if a preppy girl is going to go dark, then Nick is about as dark as you're doing to get.

I remember clearly the first moment I really noticed him. It was in seeing the video clip to the terrifying Loverman. If you know the clip then you know why it would have made such an impact to a young teenage mind. Basically we have a near naked man crawling along the a shadowed floor, grimacing and screaming as if posessed. And there was I, a young thing just staring at Rage (TV) with my mouth hanging open and thinking it was so amazing and theatrical. From memory (and perhaps it wasn't like this but it's how I remember it anyway), that night they played three video clips in a row on Rage:

Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
Loverman - Nick Cave
Violently Happy - Bjork.

That was the moment right there folks - the moment I changed. All songs and clips got me for different reasons but it was Loverman that I played over and over and over again until my parents got really...worried. I went through Nick Cave's back catalogue with gusto but really it was his Live Seeds album that did it for me. I couldn't believe that someone could be so raw and passionate and still be able to function as human - you could hear it resounding in the crowd and you could hear it in his voice, this primal language resonating that didn't even need words. I was so attracted. He totally got me.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I got to see him live. It was one of the best live music experiences I've ever had. Before the set even started I remember looking at the man in front of me. He had his shirt off revealing raw finger nail welts bleeding right down into his pants and it was then before the show even started that I knew I wasn't in "Kansas" anymore. Nick Cave walked out with a champagne bottle in one hand, a glass in the other. He put them down on top of his piano, lit a cigarette and started to tell us a story about a girl. It was sublime. Unashamedly - right then, should a NC harem have existed then I would have joined it.

Let's face it. I'd still join it - the man gets better with age. He is one of those multi talented artists that not only dips his hand in at everything but is also good at it. I have loved his work it seems since forever, but you wouldn't really be a Melbournian if you didn't. He's become an institution without even meaning to.

I tossed and turned all night over which song to pick. In the end almost any song is as good as any other. But today, I think this is the kind of mood I'm in. Take from that what you will.

The Mercy Seat - Nick Cave

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