CULTURE

Nick Cave to return for smaller, more intimate September show

Just days after Mick Harvey – a longtime associate of the celebrated Australian musician Nick Cave – performed his first solo shows in Greece, it was announced yesterday that Cave will also be touring later this summer, this time with just three of his several backing musicians, dubbed the Bad Seeds, for a more intimate sound. Cave, local concert promoter Di-Di Music announced yesterday, has been booked for an appearance at the open-air Lycabettus Theater on September 22. Tickets, ranging between 55 and 75 euros, will go on sale today, the promoter added. The Australian’s stripped-down version of his Bad Seeds will comprise two compatriots, bassist Martyn Casey, formerly of the outstanding but defunct Perth band the Triffids, violinist Warren Ellis, a founding member of Melbourne instrumental trio the Dirty Three, and American drummer Jim Sclavunos, whose track record includes work with psychobilly band the Cramps. Cave last played here just over a year ago with his entire backing band, filling one of the Greek capital’s bigger indoor Olympic facilities with a turnout of some 15,000 fans. But the general impression left behind, it seems, was of an oversized production greatly deprived of musical intimacy. In all fairness, though, Cave has earned his way to the bigger venues. To get there, he has remained a committed songwriter since the late 1970s, when he emerged as frontman of his first band, the short-lived Boys Next Door that evolved into the Birthday Party by the early 80s. Cave spent many long and hard years on the periphery performing to modest-sized crowds at grubby clubs before wider recognition started coming his way by the late 80s. The news of Cave’s September show at the Lycabettus Theater, big but nowhere near as big as the aforementioned Olympic facility, should be warmly greeted by fans that like to sense at least some sort of connection with performing acts. But considering the ticket prices, they will need to pay for it. While on the subject of intimacy, Harvey, Cave’s right-hand man since their days in the Boys Next Door, formed at high school, played a warm, mostly acoustic set to some 400 fans that turned up to the capital’s 900-capacity Gagarin club last Friday, as part of a short tour including dates in France, Italy and Spain. Harvey, joined by two fellow Bad Seeds not included in Cave’s more compact backing band – Thomas Wydler on drums and James Johnston on guitar and keyboards – as well as a double bassist, Rosie Westbrook, smiled often as he led his musicians through a mostly gently played set miles away from the more tumultuous adventures of Cave with full band. Harvey’s set, which included some original work, was loaded with covers including, not surprisingly, material by the late French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Harvey, who has released two English-language Gainsbourg tribute albums, was joined by the opening act, compatriot Loene Carmen, an alluring blonde clad in a short white lame dress, for «Bonnie and Clyde,» a duet Gainsbourg had recorded with Brigitte Bardot. Harvey also remembered another late but less celebrated figure, David McComb of the worthy 80s indie band the Triffids, with a version of an unreleased song, «Everything Fixed is Killed.»