[Critique] Contemplation and Liberation with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis


He brought us to our knees, dear Nick Cave. Last Saturday night, he officiated a splendid reunion with his Montreal audience in the first of two intense concerts presented at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in the Place des Arts. The Australian and his five companions sang for almost two and a half hours, favoring songs from the last two albums, Butcher shoppublished last year, and Ghostreleased in the fall of 2019, transcending mourning and its acceptance, at the heart of these two albums, with as much passion as pain.

Among the most heard words during this evening, we highlight ” God ” and ” Jesus “, above all not for proselytizing, but for embodying that idea of ​​an omniscient being that watches us from above screwing up our lives, witnesses of our dramas, the type of theme that Cave likes in his songs. ” God », « Jesus “, Then, ” Shit ! very often too, and Hears ! “. As in: “It’s been two years since we can say “Hears !””, Nick Cave launched as he finished a song, raising his fist triumphantly as if he had just served an uppercut to the pandemic. Because of the mask, “I can’t see his face, he too said he, but I assume they have a happy smile on their face.”

The ” Hears! resounding said as much about the pleasure we had, he on stage and us in our seats, to commune in music as about the dynamics of his concert. we knew the route Butcher shop, which began in Europe last fall, would focus primarily on material from their last two gorgeous but contrite albums, characterized by orchestral nudity. Few guitars and percussion, lots of backing vocals, piano and synths. haunting songs. We were expecting a collected, introspective, beautiful concert. It was sometimes, but mercilessly, feeling evacuated by the punk character of the artist who galloped back.

We did not expect such a pleasant and exuberant concert. Next to him, the accomplice Warren Ellis, sitting in a corner with a small synthesizer on his knees, almost a misuse for this musician who often turns into a demon on stage! Behind him, a three-voice gospel choir, as well as an instrumentalist, sometimes on bass, sometimes on synth or drums. Cave opened the evening slowly with three titles of Ghost: revolving song, shiny horses and night raidabout the design of his twins, room 33 of a large hotel.

These austerely printed orchestrations left all the space to the voices, first of all Cave’s, serious and theatrical. The gospel choir made the soulful songs even more solemn; behind the powerful, and rhythmic, White elephantthe elegant and resilient title track from the recent album, then the poignant Ghosttwelve heartbreaking minutes, the song that evokes the memory of his son Arthur, who died in 2015.

Before and after songs, always this burst, this ” Hears ! “, that thrown fist, that lifts the weight of the words on the shoulders of the public. Yes, the songs on their last two (even three) albums are serious, but the moment we spent would not be disastrous. In duet with his backing vocalist Wendy Rose, Lavender fields restored hope in love, then celebrated by Waiting for you and I need youright before a T. Rex cover, cosmic dancer.

Warren Ellis finally grabbed his violin, the devil. He played it by also doing the acrobat in his chair, and again during the download. God is in the house (from the album No more will we part, 2001), enthusiastically received by longtime fans. The same for the resounding God’s hand, Nick Cave pacing the stage, climbing on his monitors. What a stage presence, what a performer!

Nick Cave had kept some immortals up his sleeve for the two generous encores, the first debuting with the cynical and epic Hollywood that closes Ghost before revisiting one of their ” murder ballads », henry leethen jubilee street that the public already demanded in the middle of the concert. In the second encore, we expected it, the regret In my armsperhaps the most beautiful of his repertoire, then ghost talk. Splendid.

Where is Nick Cave? Nick Cave is everywhere.

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