Part two- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (and the ‘Bad Seeds’ part is important)
Unusually, I know exactly when this happened- because it’s printed on the ticket. It was the Second of May, 1992. The doors apparently opened at 7.30pm.
Those doors opened into the SFX, the St. Francis Xavier Hall, in the good auld north inner city of Dublin. The SFX was like a school hall, very basic. It was another relatively small room filling with some relatively very unstable personalities.
A large skin head pushed his way to the front of the crowd and froze in place with his fingers gripping the edge of the stage. There was a clear and not unpleasant feeling of confrontation in the room and that feeling deepened, seriously, when the Bad Seeds took the stage.
It took a little while for them to get going but when they did.. well, it was like when the levy broke. It felt like the entire enterprise could collapse at any moment. Like a drunk sprinting, falling forward and barely maintaining balance. Like an army charging, running on adrenalin, terrified of what is ahead but unable to cease its terrible forward momentum.
It’s a characteristic of powerful live bands that the band members always look unusually tall (Even Iggy pop, who is famously ‘only five foot one’, looks pretty tall on stage). Most of the Bad Seeds are tall but on stage that night they looked like giants. Blixa Bargeld was so thin and wasted he looked like a sky-scaper without proper foundation, held up by the magic of the CNS. When there was a problem with his battered guitar and he turned to the side and raised his arms to someone off stage in frustration he looked like an eagle or maybe even a phoenix. I am told the Phoenix and he are friends.
That was the night that the Bad Seeds were fixed in my mind as something essential and beautifully not a lot has changed since then.