The band strike into‘Heathen Child’, the first single from their second album. Nick storms around the stage and decides to get up on the drummers podium where he takes a slight tumble and nearly sends Jim's cymbals crashing to the floor. Undeterred, he primal thrusts his way through the chorus, before jumping back to the stage and screams "Gimme the money, gimme the money!" to the frantic crowd. Decelerating again, he gives a beautiful rendition of ‘Palaces of Montezuma’. There's no rest for the wicked, as they say, and it's straight into ‘Evil!'.
The six upright light columns have search lights perched on top and they're spinning round like crazy, lighting up the audience in a beam of blue light. There's another chance to catch a breather when they slow the tempo down and perform a lovely mellow, ‘When My Baby Comes’ and ‘What I know’. The crowd are positively buzzing when ‘Honeybee Let's Fly To Mars’ is given to us, and like a well aimed pistol shot, it hits us straight between the eyes! .There is no doubt that Cave is a tremendous performer, but at 53 years old, where does he get all that energy? He was positively feeding off the baying crowd as he delivered an intensely physical performance that any 20 something year old would be proud of. Chaos reigned supreme tonight, as the energetic front man karate-style kicked his way through the songs. Almost trashing the stage on a number of occasions when the mic lead got caught round some of the stage gear, knocking over a stand, scattering his songs notes all over the floor. Pacing menacingly up and down the edge of the stage, pointing his fingers manically at the front row, the sweat was literally pouring off the insanely posturing Nick Cave. With his jacket removed, we're treated to another one of his humour and sexual innuendo filled songs, ‘Kitchenette’. "He keeps his glass eye on the pillow and his dentures floating in a glass, kinda makes it hard to relax." Crowd pleaser, ‘No Pussy Blues’, is up next and the writhing throng are not disappointed. The first set ended with a gorgeous ‘Bellringer Blues’.
At one point, he reached into the crowd and got pulled in (just to the right of us) by two eager young girls. He was virtually across Mel's shoulders, ensnared by the mob but despite being mauled by anyone who could reach him, including myself Cave carried on singing till the security guys pulled him back to safety. He didn’t appear at all fazed by this incident.
Grinderman are not all about Nick Cave. He has a brilliant right hand man in Warren Ellis, who danced round like a deranged marionette on acid. When he wasn't searching out never before heard of chords on his mandocaster and violin, he was whacking the living daylights out of his cymbals and anything else he could lay his multi talented hands on. Martyn Casey and Jim Schavunos, provide perfectly the vital throbbing engine of Grinderman's raucous style. With the huddled assembly shouting for more, the refreshed Grinderman return to the stage and play ‘When My Love Comes Down’ and a dynamic ‘Love Bomb’. Once again they leave, but the masses plead for more and they soon return to end the evening with a haunting rendition of, ‘Grinderman’, leaving a thoroughly satiated Manchester crowd in their wake.
All too soon the show was over and we leave the Academy on cloud nine, secure in the knowledge that we had witnessed one of the most outrageous performers on the planet. And to cap it all, on the way back to the car we bumped into Nick as he was leaving the venue. As polite (off stage) as ever, he willingly posed for photos, and to our surprise greeted Mel and I with a kiss and a hug. What a perfect end to an incredible evening.
"Once upon a time rock music was sung by the young to offend the old, now it is sung by the old to embarrass the young" Sebastian HorsleyReview by Vanessa