It’s been a great month for “new” music, climaxed by the release of the first Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album for 5 Years: Push the Sky Away. Much anticipated it seems, based on the immediate number 1 chart position here. Amazingly, that’s a first ever number 1 for the Bad Seeds in Australia. Of course these days so few people buy entire albums that it’s not quite the achievement it used to be. Nevertheless, this album definitely reinforces the cult status of Australia’s most prolific alternative performer and songwriter. And Number 3 in the UK was possibly even more impressive for an old grumpy like Cave.
Ironically the Hillsong Church took over that top position in Australia the week after. Talk about God Is In The House! It could only happen in Australia! Following those 2 weeks of relative insanity, normal service was finally resumed with Pink.
Nick Cave has lost Mick Harvey since the last Birthday Party album. And clearly Warren Ellis has upped the anti. Whether that’s the reason for the lack of raucous out-there songs on Push The Sky I don’t know. Cave has always been a lover and a poet, as well as a fighter and a preacher, so we accept his too infrequent offerings with gratitude, no matter how they are served up. There are some beautiful songs on the album, of which 4 are included in this mix. If you have access to eMusic the tracks are available for 79 cents each. That’s a premium price for eMusic who normally charge 49 cents, but still good value compared to iTunes or the physical CD.
The best way to really get into new Cave-songs is to see them performed live. And last month I had the good fortune to get close up in the Enmore mosh to witness Australia’s greatest alternative music legends. More than that, Nick Cave is the main man for me – period. Over 250 songs in the Moore library and still growing. And just for the record let it be known that for me Nina Simone is the supreme female singer – no question. Nick &Nina. The dynamic duo. Ha! Some might argue The depressive duo, but each to their own. They certainly both cover the full range of emotions from agony to ecstasy, as well as pretty much the full range of music genres between the two of them.
Not much chance of seeing Nina performing live these days though, apart from the tribute concerts. So any opportunity of seeing Nick Cave is not to be missed. Forget the Opera House – the Enmore is a great venue for him: seedy, scruffy, dark, and plenty of room on stage for theatricals. And this gig provided the perfect opportunity to wear my fave Cave t-shirt from the previous Enmore October 2007 shows – the one with his bearded face on front. The hair may be disappearing, but the performance shows no signs of slowing down. Great set-list of new songs, followed by old classics – including both The Mercy Seat and Into My Arms The last show on Australian soil for sometime, as the band moved on to the USA the day after. A great night enjoyed by all. All being an audience covering the full spectrum of ages 16 to 60 (or more, in my case!).
Getting into this gig was a bonus, as the “sold-out” signs were up well before you could even think about booking. But it’s always worth the risk of turning up on the night anyway and checking for returns. The added bonus and the incentive to turning up early, which definitely helps if you are ticket-less, was the support act.
You think Nick Cave has a deep voice? Think again – and listen to Mark Lanegan. Featured on 3 songs on this month’s mix, before I had any idea he was performing with or had any connection with Cave. This was a magic double-header in my book. Lanegan performed with just a guitarist accompanying, and delivered a quality limited set-list of 10 songs, including one on this mix – Don’t Forget Me. A highlight of the show was when Cave invited Lanegan back on stage for a duet of The Weeping Song. Magic. There is also talk of Lanegan reuniting with Queens Of The Stone Age for their next album. Sounds like a cracker!
Another great surprise this month was the release of a new David Bowie album: Next Day. This was his first for 10 Years, and not really on the radar until shortly before release. Maybe his last ever, although the voice is mellowing well and there is a strong suggestion of more ballads to come. The chameleon days of Ziggy Stardust; Aladdin Sane; Low etc. may be over musically, but in London 50,000 advance tickets have been sold for the Bowie Exhibition at the V & A Museum. That makes it the fastest-selling exhibition in its history. Sounds like a good enough reason for a visit back to the Old Country?
And next month, Depeche Mode clock in. The advance single from their album is a monster. Its called “Heaven”. No, it’s not a dance remix of the Talking Heads classic song of the same name. But it’s right up there with those top Depeche songs like Personal Jesus; Just Can’t Get; and my personal favourite track Useless.
EntArt clients were also out in force last month promoting their latest recordings. Sarah Blasko served up a sublime performance at the Opera House. Accompanied by the Sydney International Orchestra, we were treated to the entire I Awake album. A highlight for me was the song Here which is featured on this mix. Guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
The Presets were also in the house at the Enmore last month. Their first Sydney show in years. New songs from Pacifica and old anthems. Julian and Kim are masters at getting the audience up and dancing, and the joint was jumping. My daughter, Amye, down in the mosh with her mates. My wife and myself up in the seats, but just as active (almost). Really love Ghosts, which is a great arm pumper – and included in this mix as a result. Thanks to their manager Will for tickets at short notice. It was a great show – one of their best.
Tame Impala were featured on the previous mix. Following on from that, and lest we forget, I have included a classic from the first band I ever saw live. Four young lads fresh out of Liverpool – performing at the local Croydon, South London: ABC Cinema: 21 March 1963. 2,000 screaming girls and 200 bemused boys. Didn’t hear a thing, but The Beatles are a great first entry in the Moore gigs itinerary. The second gig I went to was also held at a Croydon Cinema, and featured both Chuck Berry and The Animals. Those were the days! I was only a young school-kid then, but all 3 acts still hold a special place.
Free As A Bird is not such a well known Beatles song, but it sounds great – and still fresh. The credits say it was written by John Lennon, which is highly unusual – all Beatles songs written by John or Paul or both were credited to Lennon & McCartney. That’s because in reality it was a John Lennon song written after the Beatles split up, but never recorded by Lennon. After he died and 25 years after the Beatles parted, Yoko passed on a couple of songs for the Beatles to record over for the Anthology album. This one, and Real Love. The latter being one of my Top 30 all-time songs, especially the Regina Spektor version.
Next gig out is Bruce Springsteen, thanks to the offer of tickets for final Sydney show from Mr Gudinski. More on that next time.
Vale Aaron Chugg
Finally, some very sad news. As I finish this blog, news has come through that Aaron Chugg died (aged 53) after suffering a massive stroke on the job working for the mighty Stone Roses at Future in Melbourne. Aaron was only in the office last week, and is a frequent visitor who always arrives with a humorous story about life “on the road”. I’ve know him for years through his work with EntArt clients including Shannon Noll for the last 5 years and in the old days, The Screaming Jets. He was a very honest; interesting; genuine and amusing man. A legend to those who knew him, even if not quite so well known to the public as the other Chugg (no relation). He will be sadly missed.
I was really looking forward to the book he should have written, which would have been a classic industry tell it like it is, with humour. If only I’d taped the stories! Thanks Aaron, it’s been a pleasure working with you. Truly we are shattered. A farewell tribute is being held at the Enmore next Tuesday 2 April.
Bazza Moore: March 2013
For a full track listing click here