A spotlight on Nick Cave’s concert at the All Points East, the festival in East London’s Victoria Park.
“I’m transforming, I’m Vibrating, look at me now”. Well before the set begins the devotion is apparent. The audience wear various t shirts charting their fandom. The most striking is a new one, black, that simply reads “Bad seed”. Stark iconography that flirts with cult. Backstage as well Cave’s wife Suzie has quite a few people wearing “Vampire’s Wife”. We cut the Sleaford Mods set short because we knew a good vantage point for Cave is essential. This isn’t a gig you just stand and watch. You lean in and hope to be transformed. He leans forward and hopes for the same.
The band storm into “Get ready for Love” with Cave pacing along a gantry facing the crowd. The electricity of the opener is augmented by “There she goes my beautiful world” and into “From Her to Eternity”. Its here that he leans in on every person in the front row. The first part of a lengthy communion. “Catharsis” gets overused these days but during the final section where the noise of each Bad Seed converges with Ellis attacking his violin and Cave falling to his knees howling, it is achieved. The scene is set. Victoria park has transformed into his world.
WE HAVE ALL LEFT KANSAS!
This initial peak ebbs into gentleness with “Oh Children”, But its constantly shifting. Crescendoing back into back into “Jubilee Street” back into the calmer triumvirate of Ghosteen and Skeleton Tree songs (Bright Horses/I Need you/Waiting for you). The sense of other and journey reaches fever pitch with the throbbing bass of Tupelo – which invokes the stormy night in the south where Elvis was born. It sheds its skin and grows bigger and bigger. The crowd getting so excited that Cave helps pull a fan onto the stage to help her recover. She gazes at him in sheer wonder. Each audience member has their own version of this journey.
Old staples like Red Right Hand and Mercy Seat give way to the majesty of Ship Song. A beautiful crescendo this time versus the squalor of Tupelo. Both sorts deliver. Then firmly back in the now with Higgs Bosun Blues. When the band leaves the stage there is a genuine sense of absence. Cave comes back on his own for “Into My Arms” where the crowd sing along softly in a hymn like trance. Vortex is notable as another fan has a t shirt with it on – waiting for their moment. The set rounds off with “Weeping song” – a song in which to weep. Warren leads with his violin and the crowd mirror the fluttered clapping from Cave.