Bad Seed Harvey back as a solo seed

He has performed in Greece on numerous occasions over the past few decades, but tonight’s show by Mick Harvey at the Gagarin Club is his first as a solo act. For all his previous stopovers here, Harvey has backed by longtime associate Nick Cave, beginning with their chaotic art-punk band the Birthday Party in the mid-80s, just once, and followed by countless shows with Cave’s Bad Seeds. Harvey and Cave’s musical association began during their high school days in the mid-70s, a union that led to Boys Next Door, a precursor of all the musical activity, ranging from mayhem to tenderness, that has followed. Even on this latest solo visit, Harvey’s connection with Cave remains intact. Two of his backing musicians for the current tour, in following a recent solo release, last year’s «One Man Treasure,» are part of the Bad Seeds clique. Thomas Wydler has banged Cave’s drums for years, while guitarist James Johnston, formerly a temporary filler, is now a regular. Harvey has released several solo albums between his more regular duties with Cave. Two of these feature English-language renditions of songs by Serge Gainsbourg, the late French songwriting genius and provocateur who probably would have ascended to international stardom had he been an Anglophone artist. Instead, Gainsbourg, who passed away in 1991, just short of 63, is a cultural icon at home and has remained a cult figure elsewhere. The Frenchman’s work obviously registered with Harvey out in faraway Australia. Harvey’s first solo outing, «Intoxicated Man,» released four years after Gainsbourg’s drinking- and smoking-induced death, was followed by a second set of English-language Gainsbourg songs two years later, on «Pink Elephants.» Harvey has also written music for films and worked as a member of Crime and the City Solution, another Birthday Party offshoot. Fellow Australian Loene Carmen will open tonight’s show and join Harvey for several Gainsbourg duets.