The night got off to an auspicious start as Ben had the first shout at the Cooper Hotel on King St and returned to the table with little change out a $20 for 2 beers. Needless to say that he chose not to tip, much to my amusement. We finally arrived a little late, just in time to see the end of the support act, Ed Kuepper (industry veteran and part-time Bad Seed). Playing solo with just a guitar and an amp, he seemed to have maintained the attention of a mature age crowd which was to be expected, which pleasantly reminded me that my 20s are not quite over yet.

During the break, I took the opportunity to check out the merchandise. Prior to arriving at the dilapidated Enmore, I had told Ben that I was getting some merch, no matter what. Well I guess “what” happened because I was less that inspired by the quality of what was on offer. This seems to be a reoccurring trend of late, especially when I am casually considered to be somewhat of a merch whore. I hoped that someone might have discovered inspiration from the album cover of “Grinderman 2” which really met the feel of the music. Which is where the set got going with a howl, my favourite of late in “Mickey Mouse and the Goodnight Man”.

The first thing that was evident when Grinderman took to the stage, (aka. Nick Cave and the Kelly Gang) was the big sound that they had brought with them, in meat terms it was a 2 inch thick steak. As I write this on Sunday morning after a Friday night concert, I still feel as though I am surrounded by cicadas and after discussing with the others after the gig, it was apparent that I wasn’t the only person feeling the after effects.

“When My Baby Comes”  gave a seemingly endless feel. This song which was one that confused me to a degree on the album, it came into its own when being played live. It was tracks like this that gave the concert a studio session type vibe. “Kitchenette” was clearly the star of the night as Cave poured emotion all over the front row as the song ebbed and flowed, screaming “tippy toe” into the crowd at close range.

“Evil” and “Get it on” kept the levels of angst on the stage at record highs, while Tristian enjoyed a salute from the band with “No Pussy Blues” (cheap joke I know, couldn’t help myself). The song arrangement was well put together with, high intensity songs spread far enough apart to allow the audience time to recuperate from the previous assault of powerful vocals.

Later in the set I was quizzed Grinderman or Grizzly Bear? (Who we had caught a few months earlier at the same venue and I had absolutely adored) To which at the time I replied, I wouldn’t want to try to put down either act as both had selling points and were quite different in their approaches. An interested onlooker decided to add their opinion to the brewing pot and announced that Nick Cave had been in the industry for 30 years…….steam slowly started appearing from both of ears and my face turned a shade of Coca Cola red. Despite this, I realised that this was not the time or place for identifying the reasons why that argument was so incredibly invalid and I re-tuned my attention to the band.

The encore came early and went for a solid 20 minutes with a more relaxed portion of the set, if it that is at all possible with the musical ambush which was occurring. This was clearly a well polished performance by a group who have obviously had plenty of time to decide just exactly what they want to deliver in terms of performance and sound. Warren Ellis on guitar, maracas, violin or basically anything else that was required, offered plenty of energy, only to be out enthused by Nick himself who moved about the stage spending much of his time trying get retrieve his hand from the firm grasp of adoring fans and had a great feel for the mob as he slagged off his most recent meal ticket (BDO) on a couple of occasions.

The visual was quite simple,  a large silver backdrop giving a sense of space to the stage with a very rock and roll feel, working as a blank canvas for the band to build on. The sound was big and bold, giving the impression that the vast space was entirely filled and the veteran crew knew exactly how to maximize the impact while controlling the tempo with an endless supply of bass riffs which constantly allowed the rest of the band to experiment and improvise. This was by no means a regular concert, this was an experience of rock and roll as god must have intended. Well worth the $700 worth of missed overtime.

 

Check this out for concert photos:

http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/gallery/20899/Grinderman/photo#1