Photos: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Put the Beat in Hearts of LA Fans




Nick Cave crowd - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave crowd - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds made a night at The Forum seem like a one-on-one intimate experience. 

And, yes, the fans could feel Cave’s heartbeat.

Thousands of fans hoped to be near that heartbeat and bask in Cave’s aura, either beside him on the Forum stage or below him gripping the jam-packed rail. And amazingly, the classy Aussie rock and roll veteran seemed to make it happen.

Nick Cave at The Forum - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave at The Forum – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Two Hours Plus

During a two-hour-plus-long show, he did not fail to shine the spotlight on a range of rock and roll varietals, blending the lighter side of his poetic abilities with that ominously familiar and oftentimes dark Cave. 

He whispers into the microphone time and again the “Can you hear my heartbeat boom boom boom” from “Higgs Boson Blues” as if it’s a mantra for his legions of lovers. And the fans can’t help but reach up and out to touch the dapper Cave, who wears an open shirt under his trademark black suit. The veteran performer reaches the people, connecting on a real, human level.

Nick Cave holds hands with fans - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave holds hands with fans – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Nick Cave: Suave and Cool

If there were photos in the dictionary, Cave’s picture would be there under the word “performer.” He is simultaneously furious and suave adding passion and emotion to a show that underscores what this music game is all about. The band is par excellence and the show went off without a hitch, down to the spectacular lighting.

Cave looks good, dresses respectfully, and appeals to a certain intellectual audience, who certainly didn’t behave intellectually in his presence on Sunday. When he sweeps by the people the hands all go into the air, like little metal shavings attracted to a magnet. They’re ready to be blessed by music’s Pope. The women swoon and the men admire. 

Nick Cave loves the fans - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave loves the fans – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Rarity

There’s a lot to admire: Cave’s songs run the gamut from wild man rock to crooning fables as the frontman and his Bad Seeds continue to carry on a more than 30-year-old legacy for the ages. 

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds played regulars and also pulled out some interesting tunes from his musical  rucksack. “Shoot Me Down” (2003) was one of the most emotion-evoking songs of the night from among many. This one was, as Cave said, “a rare one.”  

Nick Cave surrounded by the people on stage and in the audience- Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave surrounded by the people on stage and in the audience- Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

The Devoted Nick Cave Fan Base

It’s an understatement to say Cave has a devoted fan base. The people wait for hours, days and months to find out how close they will be to Cave when they go to the show. So when the early bird enthusiastics get their number and spot on the floor at The Forum, they are certainly going to reach their hands up to their idol.

It was an “awesome” night as Cave must have said the complimentary American term at least three times during the two-hour plus set.  He said the audience was awesome and he said the night was awesome. 

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Together 30 years - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Together 30 years – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Stagger Lee Gets a Stage Full of Fans

There are the favorites among the crowd: The inspired “Push The Sky Away,” the determined “Jubilee Street” and the touching “Girl in Amber,” with its familiar phone, the phone, the phone it rings, it rings, it rings no more.

On his renowned “Stagger Lee,” Cave was surrounded by his fans, bringing many on stage. He took some liberties, he asked them sit down — yes on the stage (twice) — as he went through the legendary verses. 

Nick Cave is close to the people - Photo © Donna Balancia
Nick Cave is close to the people – Photo © Donna Balancia

Athletic Prowess

How to explain this music to the taxi driver or someone who has never heard it before? The music is avant garde poetry that ranges from the tumultuous and energetic, where Cave runs across the stage to the solemn, where he is as quiet as if in a church — and we’re all there with him. 

Eternally youthful, Cave’s in great shape, running the length of the stage, climbing through the crowds and up onto the risers. He is constantly bent over reaching an outstretched hand to someone. He makes eye contact with those close up as well as those in “the bad seats,” but no one is ever really far away from him.

Nick Cave kneeling - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave kneeling – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ seven-piece touring lineup features Cave on vocals and piano; Warren Ellis on piano, keyboards, violin and tenor guitar; Martyn Casey on bass; Jim Sclavunos on vibraphone, percussion, piano and drums; George Vjestica on guitar; and Larry Mullins on keyboards and piano.

Nick Cave waves to the crowd - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Nick Cave waves to the crowd – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Warren Rips It Up

Warren had a great night, comfortable in the limelight he has created for himself as a longtime cohort of Cave.  Each of the musicians has their own part in this passion play. Warren busts out some crazy physical moves, so much so he had to sit down and take a towel to dry off from the excitement of almost smashing his violin.

There were two encore songs “City of Refuge” and “Rings of Saturn” that left the audience feeling quite complete. The encore songs followed a long day for some, a long year for others who long for healing and humanity.

And after all, what is humanity without a heartbeat?

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