Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds The Abattoir Blues Tour

Fresh off releasing a record with new band Grinderman, Nick Cave and company release a whopping two-CD, two-DVD collection of performances from the tour supporting their last studio album, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. That album presented the beginning of the Bad Seeds sans Blixa Bargeld, and Blixa’s intuitive, elegant playing is definitely missing from these performances, particularly on "The Weeping Song,” a Cave/Bargeld duet. Having said that, the stage is by no means empty! At certain points, one can count about 15 people on stage. Cave brought along his backup gospel singers for this tour and they add a fiery feminine spunk to a live set-up that has traditionally been all male. The two concerts and the accompanying live CDs are a comprehensive performance of the Abattoir Blues material, as well as some choice cuts from earlier work. Cave at his Cave-iest is best seen on "Stagger Lee,” an angry, spewing groove of feedback and rowdy finger pointing at the crowd. The audience is witness to Cave’s singular, wiry "dance” moves and the Bad Seeds’ subtle, discerning instrumentation. What really makes this DVD a must-have is the extra material: a short film on the recording of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, a documentary on the video shoot for "Bring It On” and a whole range of promotional videos. The best of these is the short film on the last record, as it features interviews with members of the band, live performances, as well as candid studio moments that reveal Cave to be a jovial, self-deprecating artist with a clear musical vision surrounded by equally-talented musicians that help him carry it out. Compared to the last DVD release from the Bad Seeds, God is in the House, this jam-packed set offers much more variety and depth in everything from the set lists of the concerts to the commentary in the bonus material. Required viewing for all Cave fans. (Mute)