Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Kool Haus, Toronto ON October 1

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Kool Haus, Toronto ON October 1
Had I known Black Mountain were going to be a last-minute addition as the support act, I would have cancelled my date with America’s Top Model. It was an oversight on my part, for sure, but with all due respect to the Polaris Music Prize nominees, the night was all about letting Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds put on a show for everyone.

With his porno ’tache and his weathered but mighty band by his side, Cave personified the near-extinct showman — an effortlessly cool and confident character who can go from suave to unhinged in the drop of a hat. They began with two new ones off Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, grinding out "Night of the Lotus Eaters” before the vigorous title track.

Cave was a spry figure on stage, punching and kicking, attacking his Telecaster and organ, while flirting with the front row. He also expressed his delight for Toronto, acknowledging "I love yous,” taking Bad Seeds requests like "The Ship Song” and "The Mercy Seat” with a casual response of "yeah, we can play that one” (though rejecting pleas for Grinderman’s "No Pussy Blues” — "we can’t play that”), appointing one lucky Jennifer the "keeper of the towel,” calling upon her to toss him his towel when he needed a wipe down, and issuing a comical warning that if he saw the towel on eBay he’d "eviscerate” her.

The Bad Seeds refrained from focusing too much on Dig!!!, instead giving the mature crowd an overview of their quarter-century career, and mixing it up with an emotional rollercoaster that included the beastly "Tupelo” (The Firstborn is Dead), a theatrical "The Weeping Song” (The Good Son), a poignant "Love Letter” (No More Shall We Part) and the perverse "Hard On For Love” (Your Funeral… My Trial). Cave closed with a passionate rendition of age-old epic tale "Stagger Lee” and then the timely "Midnight Man,” which struck just around the late-night hour, a fitting time if any to bid adieu.