Grinderman: Dublin, June 2011
Frenzied, manic, vigour. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis can teach the youngsters a few things about cramming massive helpings of angst and lust into a song and about filling a live set with sweat-drenched energy.
From the opening Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man, Cave alternated between leaping around the stage of Dublin’s Vicar Street and prowling it like some predatory lounge lizard. He is the Grinderman—all unbuttoned shirt and thrusting crotch, he looms over the front row, bending down, holding their hands, their heads, pulling them to him. Cave gives dynamic life to the lusts that pack Grinderman’s songs.
Worm Tamer followed and cemented the fact that we were in for a lively night. Playing occasional organ and wielding a couple of Telecasters (including one he discarded by throwing it to the floor when he no longer needed it), Cave blasted his way through a good chunk of Grinderman’s, slightly—brilliantly—unhinged, back catalogue.
Ellis coaxed ungodly sounds from his instruments and effects. As well as his usual violin, he played electric guitar, an electric tenor-guitar (from Eastwood) and what appeared to be an electric ukulele. Ellis also played, and punished, a variety of percussion instruments as well as performing backing vocal duties (from the floor for the song Evil—see below).
Cave and crew played one of the most exciting sets I’ve seen in quite a while. The Grinderman is alive and well and seems insatiable. Go and catch him if he comes to your town.