Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grinderman - Shilpa Ray -- 9:30 Club - Nov 16 2010

Shilpa Ray - A woman from New York City takes the stage and plays harmonium and sings. No, it is not Nico and Ray's voice quickly dispels images of the former Velvet Underground singer. The harmonium does bring back that icy depressing sound that Nico had, so the terrain is similar. But the voice contrasted the droning with powerful belts of blues-gospel intensity. This is a simple, effective 30 minutes of music that was well received and is a perfect setting for a Nick Cave band to join.

Grinderman - Coming into this show, I think Grinderman was my favorite Nick Cave band. Leaving the show, I will keep that opinion adding an exclamation point. Grinderman is often called a primal blues band and there is some truth there, but it also seems to encompass good things from all the previous Cave bands. It obviously has the musical skill and vision (taken to the extreme) of the Bad Seeds as all four are members. It also adds the feral garage intensity of Birthday Party and even the punk attitude of the Boys Next Door. The 55 minute set (plus encore) featured ferocious songs with some moodier moments featuring Cave on acoustic guitar once and organ another time. Cave did not play guitar often which was mostly on the newer songs, leaving that to multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, who also played violin, mandolin and was making some noise on the floor that I was too far away to see. "Get it On" and "No Pussy Blues" were highlights from the first album. I liked "Heathen Child" with its steady approach giving way to Ellis' violin from hell, which had nothing to do with Charlie Daniels. It was moments like those where these guys took a good song and exploded the sound around it into uncharted dark territory where they succeed like few others. I certainly thought of what the Stooges did decades ago, and like every good Australian, Nick Cave knows his Stooges. He has channeled that into this band in a very fresh and potent manner.

Quote of the Night: Shilpa Ray... "This is called...Euthanasia. I just want to brighten up your day."

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