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NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS - LONDON HAMMERSMITH ODEON - JUNE 07 2003   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Friday, 15 October 2004
For some of us, love is the religion.

The thing that we believe can save us all, the icon we have faith in, and yet without proof, we believe. Love is the religion.

And Nick Cave is the betrayed preacher, the one who still, despite common sense and the evidence, believes in love .

If he didnít exist, nobody would invent him. The traditional torch singer driving on just the wrong side of sanity, compelled by love to stick his hands in the fire one more time, just in case. Just in case the flickering on the corner of his vision is some new dawn.

In his church.

The seated rows of pews. The quiet, awestruck reverence. The high ceilings. If you could see in black & white, we would suddenly be transported back to the forties. The War. Buzz Bombs. Zoot Suits. For this place reeks of history, with neatly organised, plush seating. Ice cream concession stands. Cheap popcorn. Curled posters. Uniformed, polite drones at corners. Minimum wage staff and sticky carpets.

Hammersmith Odeon (now merely rebranded Carling Apollo after the-soft-lager-God-Of-The-Moon) is home to Nick Cave for three evenings. Home of the possessed preacher man with his pounding, possessed, hymns to love and loss, driven by a compulsion that love will conquer all, and yet somehow, it is only love that has been conquered. But it will prevail.

And so, as Reverend Nick and his disciples carve out a sculpture of noise, with his assorted seven strong band, the fierce, rigid percussion and the wild, passionate viola, the audience descend into a respectful rapture. Selections from the new album Nocturama Ė such as the hopelessly hopeful Itís A Wonderful Life, blend effortlessly with older psalms from his canon; the coiled poised snake of Red Right Hand, the desperate From Her To Eternity. And whilst thereís no sign of Into My Arms, Are You The One That Iíve Been Waiting For?, Papa Wonít Leave You Henry or The Weeping Song, thereís still enough moments of sheer, undiluted genius for anyone to crawl away in shock and awe. This man has loved more articulately than any since Cohen and more darkly than anyone since Judas. Each man destroys the thing he loves.

I was meant to be reviewing a gig and ended up talking about some sort of lovestruck, hopeless hope, some belief that love is the leveller that will burn clean all of our mistakes and redeem us, allow us to start again. And this is his compulsion, as is that of all of us who come here ; love is the religion, and it will be our deliverer. Our rapture. Our saviour.

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