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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

Headed down to the Enmore with Ben on a warm summers evening to check out Interpol on their “Falls Festival Sydney stop-over tour”. We arrived around 7:30pm and stopped in for a quiet beer at the Queen Hotel across the road.

Got to the venue halfway through Bridezilla’s support act to find a sound that reminded me of Howling Bells in terms of vocals. After a couple of songs the conversations from the pub continued on and Bridezilla were relegating to the status of background noise, however they left me wondering why an internationally recognised band like Interpol can’t manage to pull a decent support act. Then I got to thinking of any decent support acts that I had been to and couldn’t really come up with anything. And then I felt reallly ripped off.

Much to my delight though despite my ticket indicating “Floor – Rear” there was no “Barricade” (that was cheap I know) and we took up a spot half way back in the middle of the floor.

After a brief sound check Interpol took to the stage with little fuss and opened with “Success”. Bass guitar sounded a little off (out of tune or something) for half of the song but pulled it together in the later. The crowd was a little anxious for set to kick off which didn’t really take place until the 3rd track “Narc” which was when we realised that we were positioned next to some 18-20yo wanna-be’s displaying a little too much man love for my liking.  After half a dozen or so tracks it had become apparent that songs from “Antics” and “Interpol” were clearly in favour with the band, much to my delight as I had been heavily listening to “Antics” in the lead up to the concert with tracks like “C’Mere” and “Summer Well” grabbing my attention during the set. A few tracks left me wanting for a little more improvisation and variation for the standard record versions of the songs.

After what seems to be somewhat of a weak chant (seems to be common of late) for an encore the band returned and play four more tracks finishing off the night with “Not Even Gaol” which was a wonderful way to complete an enjoyable musical adventure. Ben added that he thought that the band had just done a lap of the backstage and come out the other side which I found a little humorous.

The set itself was really not that glamorous and seemed like they had paid the venue for their cheapest lighting package available, with nasty looking green and purple lighting and no sign of a back drop to boot. I have seen a few gigs where bands have managed to achieve very effective sets (Grizzly Bear come to mind) despite what seem to be a minimal lighting budget. The band themselves were not the most energetic that I have ever seen, with a small outburst of sorts from the lead guitarist showing the only signs of life on the stage for the evening other than a very lively violinist for Bridezilla. The poor keyboardist was tucked up the back next to the drummer and I forgot he was even there for half of the night so I guessed that the visual aspect of the concert left a little to be desired and I felt like I was watching a 4 piece for much of the night.

I had a hard time remembering the last time that I was Interpol at the Hordern a couple of years and many other concerts and festivals ago, however from what I can recollect not a lot has changed with the band despite a change in bass guitarist.  A poor visual in terms of lighting and energy left me feeling as though the band was passing time before they were ready to punch in their time cards and head off for a beer and left me wanting a little more from such a high quality act despite this the depth of the repertoire  ensured that the night was not doubt an enjoyable one.

Below I have tried to put together most of the play-list. This has proved to be a difficult task for me as I struggle to remember album names let alone track names.

Set List (to the best of my ability):

Success
???
Narc
???
???
Barricades
???
Evil
???
Lights
C’mere
Summer Well
Take you on a Cruise
Heinrich Maneuver
Memory Serves
Obstacle 1

ENCORE:
???
???
Slow Hands
Not Even Gaol