I’m counting down the minutes until Friday, when my shoe-in for show of the year is happening at Metropolis: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In anticipation, my turntable will be fed Cave exclusively all week long, from the Birthday Party to Grinderman and other offshoots like Crime and City Solution, Rowland S. Howard etc.
Along with Mick Harvey, Warren Ellis and Anita Lane, one of Cave’s greatest musical foils was guitarist and singer Blixa Bargeld. Although Blixa was a giant in the Bad Seeds, his real Germanic vitriol was reserved for his own creation, Einstürzende Neubauten. Neubauten hardly invented industrial music, but they were definitely one of the post-punk bands — along with Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, Swans, SPK, Test Department etc — who helped shape it.
Just released is their recent CD/DVD Live at Rockpalast 1990 (MVD). Filmed in Dusseldorf, Blixa and his merry band of metal bangers are simply on fire here. Fresh from his five-year stint with the Bad Seeds, Bargeld begins by flirting with traditional form for the first time since the band’s inception a decade earlier. Industrial percussionist FM Einheit plays a contact-mic-equipped shopping cart, power tools, railroad ties and other rusty metal objects that threaten to steal the limelight from Bargeld throughout the show.
Although the band continues to this day and has arguably delved further into traditional form over subsequent years, this 1990 concert shows them in full transitional mode. From dabbling in the trance dance beat of “Feurio” and “Yu Gung” to switching into the full cacophony of “Der Tod Ist Ein Dandy” before breakin’ necks with the Bad Seeds-fuelled “Der Kuss” and their take on Lee Hazlewood’s tender ballad “Sand.” Although the band is consistently amazing on record, seeing the passion, sweat and energy they’re able to conjure up on stage really makes them come alive.
Given the massive amount of influence Einstürzende Neubaten have had on the underground, as well as more mainstream acts like Nine Inch Nails and Bjork, this DVD remains long overdue.
Here are the shows that have all the mop-tops and hippies fruggin’ up a storm:
Tuesday – If you like your black metal with a double dose of medieval folk, catch Finland’s Einherjer with Toronto’s Panzerfaust, Hollow and Valknacht at Katacombes.
Friday – Skipping right ahead, this Friday night has plenty to choose from, but the one mandatory show to catch would be the return of Beelzebub’s favourite lounge singer, Nick Cave and his almighty Bad Seeds, with Sharon Van Etten at Metropolis. Although Cave’s Grinderman project is a glorious Stooges romp, the man really has to be seen stomping the boards and tickling the ivories under his own moniker. True, Blixa Bargeld’s lack of involvement over the past decade is a personal heartbreaker, but Cave’s more recent foil — Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis — more than makes up for Blixa’s absence, with high kicks, sweat and rock ‘n’ roll panache. Nobody owns a stage like Cave, and if you’ve never seen the man pound the pulpit at previous shows at the Rialto or Metropolis, be assured that this is going to be as good as it gets. Tickets have long sold out, but if you’re willing to shell out the sheckles to scalpers, this will easily be worth the solid dent in the wallet.
It’s a little early in the year to start foisting the “best show of the year” flag, but fuggit, this is probably going to be it.
But it’s a stacked Friday, to be sure, so if you aren’t able to snag a ticket for Cave, there’s still plenty of righteous jams happening around town.
Fans of King Crimson can catch the band’s one-time bassist Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto with Markus Reuter, playing under the name Stick Men, with Karcus at Petit Campus.
Thrash metal heads will want to storm the door at Katacombes to catch the hooded wallop of the Exalted Piledriver with Alcoholator, Untimely Demise and Demona.
Fucked-up punkers will want to catch the split-tape release party for Interracial Love Triangle and Corona Ferox with support from the equally fugged up Sacral Nerves and Loud Sex with DJs Tanner and Jon Cusack at la Brique.
Want more punk? Sacramento’s Boats! play with the solid support of Vulgar You! and Ultrathin at l’Esco. There’s only a week left to help l’Esco celebrate their 13th anniversary, so don’t be tardy.
On the local-band scene, you can catch Orkestar Kriminal when they launch their debut, Zontan! Bin! Levende!, with Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and Ira Lee at Lion d’Or.
Members of the make-a-riff foundation are cordially invited to Rock Hard, Eagle Tears and Ottawa’s Muffler Crunch at l’Hemisphère Gauche.
Saturday – The one clear winner for Saturday night would be the wild and raw rock ‘n’ roll sounds of Bloodshot Bill with DJ Izi Laterreur at Divan Orange. Don’t miss this greased-up master at work.
Sunday – This little column had previously tried hipping you to the Punk Rock Double Feature happening at Cagibi, but the event has officially moved to this Sunday. Show up at 7 p.m. to catch Penelope Spheeris’s 1983 howler Suburbia followed by Alex Cox’s 1984 side-splitter Repo Man. Admission is free!
If this night has you hot under the collar, you should also try and track down a copy of the book Destroy All Movies! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (2010, Fantagraphics), which recently went out of print. Editors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly exhaustively watched a shit-ton of movies to try and find punk rockers on film from the years 1974–1999. This huge tome also includes interviews with the likes of Ian Mackaye, with a foreword penned by Richard Hell. ■
Current Obsession: Nick Cave, From Her to Eternity