While the Halloween freaks and ghouls pounded the pavements outside, another band of miscreants were whipping up some dark mischief within the Barrowland.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Barrowland, Glasgow
* * * *
Lean, hungry men who rule rock’s shadowy passageways under the charismatic command of an eldritch leader, a man called Cave who wasted no time issuing the silky warning that “we know who you are and we know where you live”. The crowd responded not with cowering fear but fervent worship.
Nick Cave has regrouped his trusty Bad Seeds, not with a lusty bang but a dramatic menacing whisper. Several of the songs aired from new album Push The Sky Away started at a sinister simmer and built to torrid climaxes.
It only took the length of Jubilee Street for the group to whip up a frenzy, with Cave and the distinguished Conway Savage in dual keyboard attack mode and the maniacal Warren Ellis bowing his guitar demonically. From here on, Cave conducted much of the rest of his business teetering and writhing on the precipice between stage and audience.
As always with a Cave performance, there was room for doomed romance, black humour, diabolic possession and cathartic exorcism and, in this case, a particle metaphysics meditation called Higgs Boson Blues.
But this was a set in particular fit for the witching season, one which prowled then pounced, lulled then lunged like a creepy movie, taking in the hellfire sermon of Tupelo, the increasingly demented pursuit of The Mercy Seat, the punky love-is-hell torment of From Her To Eternity, the slightly schlocky haunted house prowl of Red Right Hand and Do You Love Me?, the last dance at the Halloween disco.