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  Manchester Academy  
  Manchester, UK  
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
Photographs by:
  Indoor Miner  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

Technically speaking, I missed the support band, The Hunter Gracchus. I did hear some droning noises as I stood at the bar and looked up to see them on-stage. Now I don't mind a bit of Led Zep from time to time, but there are few worse sights in rock than seeing a bloke leaning over his guitar with a violin bow in his hand. I stayed at the bar till they went.

On venturing into the auditorium, we were met with a stage set consisting of six large columns in front of a shiny reflective curtain. When the main act came on, these towers seemingly came to life with flashing orange and yellow lights, bringing to mind some ancient pop show from my childhood. But instead of some fresh faced toothy pop combo or a Young Generation type dance troupe, there stood four middle aged men, two of whom had beards of a length associated with a Manson-like cult. Yes, it was Nick Cave with three of his Bad Seeds Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, and Jim Sclavunos. AKA the wonderfully named Grinderman!

Kicking off with Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man, the opening track from the new Grinderman 2 LP, this was a band immediately setting their stall. Noise and sheer abandon - and if the vocals were a little high in the distorted mix, well it didn't really matter. Get It On came and went early and found Warren Ellis putting his toy sized guitar down to dance and play maracas. It was fabulous! Cave then relieved himself of his guitar to concentrate on front man duties for a while. This included jumping onto the drum riser and deliberately or otherwise falling into the drum kit. It wasn't all total freak-out time, however, as there was the odd moment of restraint. There was even an acoustic guitar used at one point!

The best moments, however, were when the band went for it. For example, by the time they played the likes of Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars) and Kitchenette, Cave had really hit his stride, seemingly lecturing like some demented Southern evangelist. The fact that he was singing on the latter about putting his hand in a biscuit jar and crushing gingerbread men meant that this seemed both ludicrous and threatening. When My Baby Comes, meanwhile, went from an almost Bad Seeds-like mid-tempo number to a diesel fuelled take on some swamp rock that the album version only hints at. A fab take on No Pussy Blues seemed a good place to end it all, but Cave stood there and chirped "yeah, pretty divisive that one." Otherwise, Cave one of the more articulate people in the business today - didn't say a lot other than to thank individual members of the audience, making special mention of one man's beard stating, "It's's evil." The set ended with a demented take on Bellringer Blues, the final track on Grinderman 2, before the band returned for an encore that included Love Bomb and ended with a take on their eponymous Grinderman track. This was relentless as it built to something altogether more tribal than the version on record. It was a pretty damn awesome way to end any show...

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