Preview: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at The Anthem

Photo courtesy of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Photo courtesy of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are bringing one of the deepest and most acclaimed discographies to The Anthem on Thursday, October 25. From their debut album in 1984, “From Her To Eternity,” to the somber musings of 2016’s “Skeleton Tree”  fifteen albums later, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have consistently morphed and evolved their sound to great success.

Genre-hopping legends with no fewer than three essential albums (and arguably about ten), Nick Cave and the gang started as a humble post-punk band with a gothic edge and have since added piano ballads, gospel choirs, and even ambient and electronic elements.

That constant reinvention and experimentation could prove to be too much to a lesser band, but Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have produced excellent work in four separate decades because their work is grounded in two key elements - powerful songwriting and a vibrant live show.

If you’re wondering what to expect at The Anthem, here’s a Q&A to explain.

Q: Isn’t Nick Cave like, 60? I don’t know if he can rock like he used to.

A: He’s actually 61 now, but I see what you’re getting at! The fact remains though, that he can indeed still rock. I point you to the evidence of him screaming the murder rock epic “Stagger Lee” tip-toed on a metal barrier using fans as support at Glastonbury in 2013. If you’re worried that he’s lost a step in the last five years, I’d encourage you to check out the insane energy from his 2017 performance of “Jubilee Street” in Copenhagen - that show was just turned into a live album, “Distant Sky (Live in Copenhagen),” too.

Q: I only know Nick Cave’s old stuff like “Let Love In,” and my friend only knows their new stuff like “Push The Sky Away.” Is one of us going to go home disappointed?

A: Absolutely not! If the setlist for the Anthem show is anything like the rest of his tour, you’ll be serenaded by everything from the newest record “Skeleton Tree” to the oldest, “From Her To Eternity.” Rest assured you’ll be getting the best of all versions of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Q: You sound like a long time Nick Cave stan.

A: Not a question, and that’s only half-true. I only stumbled into the band’s discography this year, and I’m extremely glad I did before this show. Nick Cave is an punk/indie/rock king, and I highly encourage you come sail your ships around him and the band while they’re in town.

Photo courtesy of BBC.

Photo courtesy of BBC.

Cigarettes After Sex

A dream pop outfit fronted by Greg Gonzalez of El Paso, TX, Cigarettes After Sex sound like what their name indicates - hazy, sexy and a little bitter. The band has made their name on mesmerizing hooks that seem to float in space. Take a song like “K.” from their 2017 self-titled album. The band plays with dynamics on that track by allowing Gonzalez’ voice to fill the soundscape of the verses, supported only by minimal bass and drum accompaniments, until a soft rush of guitar and synthesizer join on the choruses. The band’s style makes for songs that feel deeply intimate and perfect to sing along to at the same time.

Thematically and sonically, Cigarettes After Sex have tapped into something that’s very much of this time. While the band’s first release “I.” came out in 2012, it only exploded into the public conscious in 2016. Now, after the song “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” was placed on popular shows The Handmaid’s Tale and Shameless and “Apocalypse” was featured on the 2018 film “Hearts Beat Loud,” the band feels perched on the edge of ubiquity.

While the bedroom lullaby vibes of the band might seem ill-suited as openers for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at first glance, I imagine they’ll instead serve as an excellent warm up to the following emotion-laden performance. We aren’t all so lucky as to catch Cigarettes After Sex at an intimate Tiny Desk Concert, so a performance in the appropriately atmospheric Anthem is likely the next best thing.