photo: Maria Kilmpasani
You can’t imagine that this is Mr Cave’s favourite sort of public engagement; too light. Nevertheless, rush hour Oxford Street is treated to a set from Cave and his troop of wizened musical companions in full on dark mode. Cave has maintained his Grinderman image, moustachio’d and with mid-length slicked black hair, and to be honest the music hasn’t changed much either. Kicking off with recent single Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, the band rattled through roughly half their new album, a mix of old-style Bluesy rock and Cave’s famed skewed take on love and lust. Highlight for me was Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl), featuring both Mick Harvey and Warren Ellis on refrained backing vocals, buzzsaw guitar and a sweeping underlying melody. Throughout, Ellis provided perfect chaotic counterpoint to Cave’s slick persona, grizzled beard and unkempt mane. Switching between guitar, fiddle and flute, Ellis was a visual and musical feast, recalling the fellow gracing the front of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. Cave on the other hand, was always controlled; even when careering towards the crowd. Sure, there was flailing and cursing but he strikes you as a gent that knows exactly what he is doing. Finishing with the extended version of More News From Nowhere (available on the special version of the album), Cave had preached mainly to the converted here; many people passing through the store treated the spectacle with raised eyebrows and laughter. For me however, it merely whetted my appetite for his full show in May.