I had the great pleasure of seeing Grinderman live on Tuesday night at the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow. Nick Cave was electrifying, Warren Ellis insane and the “other two” held it all together with aplomb. It is a unique experience (and my first) watching and listening to Nick Cave in action. He has an intensity that I’ve never seen any act match in my history of gig going and Warren Ellis as his stooge is quite awe inspiring. At one stage Ellis was smashing, and I mean utterly battering the fucking life out of, a Hi hat with a pair of marracas that looked life threatening to the front row of the audience.
So lupine is Cave’s performance that you expect him to gorge on the flesh of one of the few female members of the audience at any point in the show. Howls and roars whilst looking for the moon through the Barrowland’s hallowed ceiling are frequent. He was honoured to play here as one of his legends, the (not so sensation in my view) Alex Harvey had strode these boards in his youth. Cave is in his 50’s now, but acts as though he is in his 20s.
Grinderman’s songs are tongue in cheek misogynistic maelstroms. Women are disparaged, objectified, lusted after, loved, hated, disparaged; you name it. This is not balladry this is death metal on acid. But, as I say, it’s tongue in cheek. It’s full of humour and it’s priceless. No pussy Blues, an anguished cry for some pussy action despite every form of wooing known to man sums the band up and it was performed brilliantly. The highlight of the night for me though was the eponymous Grinderman that echoed Jim Morrison set to a hypnotic bass and drum rumble that could easily have been the Doors.
It was wonderful, loud, musical extremism that had my ears tingling with Ttinitus well into the morning hours.