Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Abattoir Blues Tour

The Abattoir Blues Tour (2007)

B-

1. O Children 2. Hiding All Away 3. Breathless 4. Get Ready For Love 5. Red Right Hand 6. The Ship Song 7. The Weeping Song 8. Stagger Lee 9. Carry Me 10. Let The Bells Ring 11. Easy Money 12. Supernaturally 13. Babe, You Turn Me On 14. There She Goes, My Beautiful World 15. God Is In The House 16. Deanna 17. Lay Me Low

 

Weirdly flat and lackluster! But enough about this boring Nick Cave live album, because it looks like I have managed to piss off the singer of the Gaslight Anthem because I had the audacity to pan his band’s new album over on Slant Magazine. And now all his Twitter followers are mad at me too! Well, I have three things to say about this: 1) I liked the Gaslight Anthem’s previous albums, especially American Slang, but Get Hurt blows complete ass aside from maybe two and a half songs, 2) I’m legitimately concerned about getting beat up by incensed Gaslight Anthem fans when I walk out of my building tomorrow morning. I saw the band live once and all the fans up on the rail were roided out meatheads who were all wasted and getting into fights for no reason every five minutes, and 3) “Skullduggery” is a great word. People should use it more often.

Aaaaaanyway, The Abattoir Blues Tour. Aptly named, this double album is, since not only are 10 of the 17 tracks from Abattoir Blues/Ohhhhh Mama, but Nick brought the backup chicks from the album along to replicate their parts from the studio versions, as well as to add some new coloring to a few choice numbers from the canon (“Stagger Lee” and “Deanna,” to be specific). And lord almighty did he ever need the help, because his big billowy baritone is in unusually weak form throughout. The man just sounds tired and out of breath, as if he were a 46-year old man trying to perform a rock ‘n roll concert or something! I mean, he mostly hits the notes and all—this is even close to Roger Daltrey on Who’s Last or anything—but he just sounds like he’s keeping up rather than taking control of the material like he usually does. It gets to the point where I actually start anticipating the backup singers coming in and giving Nick some much-needed support.

The second problem with this album is the kind of terrible setlist. I mean, I understand the band doing all the new songs and everything, and I remain convinced that the album they were touring behind is probably their best studio effort, but did they have to choose every single one of the most boring songs on the record to play? “Babe, You Turn Me On”? “Carry Me”? “Easy Money”? What the fuck? I mean, I like these songs, but live they’re just duller, more weakly mixed retreads of the studio versions – just like these slowww tit tat drums, some strummed acoustic guitar, and a piano plinking away in the background and that’s it. Plus there’s very little that actually rocks to balance things out, and even the selection of old songs is pretty rote and predictable. Oh, “Red Right Hand,” “The Weeping Song,” and “The Ship Song”? Yeah, BIG FUCKIN’ SURPRISE (though “Lay Me Low” is a nice, unexpected, appropriately gospel-y way to close things out).

So what can you say? Great album, boring tour. And the new Gaslight Anthem album sucks.



2 Comments

  1. victoid wrote:

    Nick Cave is a sideshow in the freak tent on the midway of rock’s carnival.
    Entertaining; possessed of some preternatural talent, but sometimes you just need to look away.
    The quality of his wok is almost irrelevant- like that of a corn dog. Always fun tho’.
    “Skullduggery” is a nifty term- any word with a k in it has a goofy quality somehow.
    I like “jiggery-pokery” as an alternative.
    Why haven’t you reviewed “Oar”? Think of the positives of the endeavor: An obscure yet seminal work that has had an overt influence on no one (with the possible exception of Tom Waits) that you could define for all posterity, becoming the permanent attribution for any mention of the album. No fans to threaten you for perceived slights, and no other works to bother with. You may well be the only writer with a perception sufficiently twisted to do it justice. Think on it.


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