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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle – July 2, 2014

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle – July 2, 2014

Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played in front of an open-floor crowd at The Paramount Theater last night. That’s the best venue layout for Nick, because he feeds off the energy of the crowd – sucks it up and burns it bright on stage.

I will add links to other sites with better photos and reviews during the day. For now, here’s the set list.

Set List

We Real Cool
Jubilee Street
Red Right Hand
From Her to Eternity
Stranger than Kindness
Into My Arms
Sad Waters
God is in the House
The Weeping Song, with Mark Lanegan singing Blixa’s part (see above photo)
Higgs Boson Blues
The Mercy Seat
Stagger Lee
Push the Sky Away

The Lyre of Orpheus

Here’s the first review I’ve come across. It’s by Kathy Fennessy for The Stranger SLOG.

“Tupelo” was one of a few songs from early in Cave’s career. By this point, his discography is deep enough that he doesn’t need to dig that far back for gems, but I’m sure the audience appreciated it as much as I did (I noticed plenty of people my age and older, like King County Executive Dow Constantine, who was positioned near the front of the stage). “From Her to Eternity,” title track from Cave’s 1984 debut, came off especially well. Other highlights included “Red Right Hand” and “The Mercy Seat,” although I have to confess that I like the Johnny Cash cover so much I hoped Cave would use Rick Rubin’s arrangement (he didn’t).

And then, just when I was thinking how nice it would be for P.J. Harvey or Kylie Minogue to drop by—stranger things have happened—he brought out Lanegan for “The Weeping Song.” Mark sang the first half, Nick the second. Nothing revelatory, but it sounded good. “The great Mark Lanegan,” Cave said as he left the stage…

Excerpt from Morgan Schuler’s review for The Seattle Weekly:

From the moment the lights went down, Nick Cave flew onto the stage and as he danced his way from one side to the other through his first two songs, “We Real Cool” and “Jubilee Street”, the energy was high, save for a few breaks for piano ballads. Leaning into the crowd, pawing at the audience, grabbing hands and singing directly into the first row showed how much he loves his fans.

He didn’t slow down after those first two songs either, dancing in that weird funky way he has as if he’s using his hands to guide his movements around the floor and taking a small jump when the music gets really intense.

And check out Schuler’s 31 photos of the show. Here’s one.

The Best Music of 2012

The Best Music of 2012

It’s the last day of the year and I am finally getting around to posting my list of favorite albums of 2012.

The number one album goes to the one I listened to the most during the year, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, by Richard Hawley.

I have no idea how such a great album did not even make it on the KEXP listener’s poll of the top 120 albums. Watch the video. Take minute to request KEXP to play it, and buy the album.

Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes comes in at number two.

KEXP listeners did approve of this album. It came in at Number 5.

Brian Jonestown Massacre comes in at Number 3 with Aufheben. Inexplicably missing from the KEXP list.

Bruce Springsteen put out his best album in many years. Wrecking Ball ranks Number 4 and it’s a perfect collection of political songs that was my soundtrack for the 2012 elections.

Dr. John put out his best album in decades. Locked Down was produced by Dan Auerback of The Black Keys, and he brought out the best of the Dr on this album.

No videos for the rest of this list. You know where to find them.

6. Banga, by Patti Smith
7. Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, by Spiritualized
8. Sonik Kicks, by Paul Weller
9. In Your Head, by Monophonics
10. Blues Funeral, by Mark Lanegan
11. Tempest, by Bob Dylan
12. Temple Beautiful, by Chuck Prophet
13. Blunderbuss, by Jack White
14. Circles, by Moon Duo
15. Sun, by Cat Power
16. O’ Be Joyful, by Shovels and Rope
17. Elegancia Tropical, by Bomba Estereo
18. Falling Off the Sky, by The dB’s
19. Twins, by Ty Segall
20. Synthetica, by Metric

I could go on but I’ll stop at twenty.

Tulip Frenzy chose Bend Beyond by Woods as the best album of the year. I recently bought it based on the review and it’s starting to grow on me. Other albums that caught my interest are Glad Rag Doll by Diana Krall featuring Marc Ribot on guitar, The House that Jack Built by Jesca Hoop, Tramp by Sharon Van Etten, Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young, Researching the Blues by Red Kross, and I Will Set You Free by Barry Adamson.

Friday Night Videos Featuring Barry Adamson, Chuck Prophet, and Mark Lanegan

Friday Night Videos Featuring Barry Adamson, Chuck Prophet, and Mark Lanegan

I know Barry Adamson from his work with Nick Cave on his first three albums. I had not paid much attention to his solo work until I heard tracks of his new album, I Will Set You Free.

This one is from Chuck Prophet’s latest album, Temple Beautiful.

And here’s one from Mark Lanegan’s new album, Blues Funeral.


Best Music of 2010

Best Music of 2010

There were a whole lot of very good albums released in 2010, and it was a difficult task to come up with a list of the best 20 albums, because so many good ones didn’t make the cut.  Anyway, here’s my list:

Neil YoungLe Noise Neil Young has put out some really great albums and a few duds too.  This one produced by Daniel Lanois is one of his best.  It’s just Neil playing his guitars and singing about his life and career.  Key Tracks:  “Walk with Me” and “The Hitchhiker”

GrindermanGrinderman 2 Nick Cave is back with his smaller, much harder rocking group playing the role of a wolf man on the prowl for sex and love – anyway he can get it.  Key tracks:  “Heathen Child” and “Bellringer Blues”

SpoonTransference This one came out very early in 2010, and I always find myself going back to it.  Britt Daniel knows how to write catch pop tunes.  The best ones on the album are “The Mystery Zone” and “Written in Reverse.”

John Legend and The Roots Wake Up! I never really paid much attention to John Legend until I saw him perform live with The Roots at The Rally to Restore Sanity.  All the songs but one on this album are covers of old-school soul/funk/R&B songs.  The Roots are one of the most solid bands working today, and John Legend shines as a vocalist with them backing him up.  Favorites are Ernie Hines’s “Our Generation” and Bill Withers’ “I Can’t Write Left Handed.”

Justin Townes EarleHarlem River Blues I had never really paid much attention to Justin Townes Earle before I saw him at Bumbershoot this year.  His song writing and singing style are signature Austin style, and he sounds like he’s having a really great time singing these songs.  Favorite songs are “Harlem River Blues” and “Christchurch Woman.”

Isobel Campbell & Mark LaneganHawk Mark Lanegan’s gravely baritone voice kills me.  Isobel Campbell’s soft, sweet voice provides the perfect foil.  Together they remind me of another great duo from years back, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Greenwood.  Key tracks:  “Come Undone” and “Lately.”

The MynabirdsWhat We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood This is another new band for me.  I was sucked in by the Memphis soul sound.  Laura Burhenn’s vocals remind me of another great one, Dusty Springfield.  Favorite songs are “What We Gained in the Fire” and “LA Rain.”

Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubBeat the Devil’s Tattoo I’ve been a fan of this band ever since their 2003 release, Take Them on Their Own.  This album is as good as the one that got me listening to the band.  “Aya” has got to be one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded.  I listen to it all the time.  Other key track is “River Styx.”

Jesca HoopHunting My Dress Who is this woman with the first name that is missing a syllable?  I don’t know… I’ve read that she used to be a nanny for Tom Waits’s kids.  I think she picked up some of his rhythms.  I love the percussion and vocal style on this album.  Key tracks are “Tulip” and “Murder of Birds.”

The RootsHow I Got Over See above about how this is one of the best bands working today.  I am not a big fan of rap music, and these guys do rap, but what makes them different is that they are a real band, and they have real melodies in their songs.  Love the band.  My favorites are “Walk Alone” and “The Fire.”

Danger Mouse and SparklehorseDark Night of the Soul This album is bittersweet.  Were it not for some kind of weird contract or legal issue between Danger Mouse and somebody, this would have been released last year before co-creator Mark Linkous, and Vic Chesnutt (who also appears on the album) both committed suicide.  I was a big fan of both of them, and was sad to see them go.  David Lynch is the third major party in this project, and he actually does vocals on a couple tracks and provides the visuals.  You must visit the website.  Key tracks are “Everytime I’m With You” and “Revenge” (featuring Wayne Coyne on vocals).

Johnny DowdWake up the Snakes Not enough people know about Johnny Dowd.  Given that this album wasn’t released in the U.S. this year (You can buy it on his website, and you’ll get a sticky note in his hand on the cd that says “Thanks.”), I have to conclude that he’s more popular in Europe than he is in his home country.  That’s a shame, because Johnny writes crazy good songs about love, death, Jesus, and murder.  This album is one of his more rocking ones.  I really like “Voices” and “Howling Wolf Blues.”

MoondoggiesTidelands This is the second album by the local group who refers to themselves as “The Everett Shit Kickers” in the liner notes.  I like this one better than their first one.  I think the song writing is better and the band is really tight on this album.  Best tracks are “Tidelands” and “Lead Me On.”

Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersMojo I had not bought a Tom Petty album for about 25 years.  I loved this guy back in the day, but he seemed to be wandering into territories I wasn’t all that interested in visiting – until this one.  I first heard a track from the album on the Blue Boulevard show that airs Wednesday nights on KSVR in Mount Vernon.  Star Anna was the guest via telephone, and she chose a new Tom Petty song.  I bought the record, and it’s worthy.  Key tracks are:  “High in the Morning” and “Running Man’s Bible.”

Alejandro EscovedoStreet Songs of Love I love this guy.  This album RAWKS!  Saw him live at the No Depression show this year.  He played several songs from this album with his way good band featuring David Pulkingham on guitar.  I really like “Silver Cloud” and “Faith.”

Laura VeirsJuly Flame Laura Veirs is a mom now.  Last time I saw her perform she was 8-1/2 months pregnant.  She was touring in support of this album, an it was one of the best shows I saw this year.  She and Tucker Martine are a perfect match.  I especially like “Sun is King” (because it is) and “Wide-Eyed, Legless.”

Blue GiantBlue Giant I saw this Portland band open for The Dandy Warhols last night at The Showbox, and one might think that my picking them for my top twenty was influenced too much by a recent show, but NO!  The show was great, and so was the show they did at The Tractor when they opened for and backed up Bobby Bare, Jr., but I bought the album last nigh, listened to it today, and it is a really good album.  Key tracks are “Blue Sunshine” and “Wesley.”

The Black KeysBrothers This blues rock duo got my attention back in 2004 when I saw them at Bumbershoot.  They were touring in support of Rubber Soul.  This album is almost as good as that one.  I really like “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ For You.”

Bobby Bare, Jr.A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head The album is named after an incident that led to a tree crashing through his mother’s house and hitting her on the head.  Bobby was on tour at the time, and he called her to make sure she was okay (she was) and he continued to tour.  But he was thinking about her… the song… the album title.  I think this album is his best since The Longest Meow.  Key tracks are “Your Goat is on Fire” and your new favorite Halloween song, “Rock and Roll Halloween.”

Otis TaylorClovis People Vol. 3 What’s a Clovis person?  Go look it up.  Otis plays a different kind of blues.  Not sure how it should be categorized, but I like it.  It’s mostly acoustic and the music is sparse, the lyrics open to interpretation.  I like “Hands on Your Stomach” and “Ain’t no Cowgirl.”

I don’t count re-issues in these lists each year, but a special mention must go out to one in particular.  Bruce Springsteen released a box set of Darkness on the Edge of Town, that includes the remastered cd, an excellent movie about the making of the album, a double cd of outtakes from the sessions titled The Promise, a 3-hour 1978 concert from Houston, and whole lot of other live footage.  For Springsteen fans, this is a must have.  Absolutely amazing stuff form Springsteen in his prime.  Key tracks are “The Promise,” “The Little Things (My Baby Does},” and “The Way” (Hidden track at following “City of Night”).