Grinderman – Beards, Mandocasters and Filth

Nick Cave Warren Ellis Grinderman Beards15 minutes before the Grinderman show at Metropolis, we picked up some earplugs. We just knew it was gonna be loud.

2 minutes into the first song, I pulled them out of my ears because I just couldn’t hear the high notes. Fuck earplugs.

How do you describe Grinderman? The best I could come up with was The Bad Seeds plus Beards. Or The Bad Seeds minus deodorant. Either way, the sonic assault was beautiful, harsh, and dirty. Filthy and glorious.

Hopeful, even.

At times, Nick Cave was channeling Jim Morrison, like on the track Grinderman, but still being Nick Cave. Nobody struts around a stage like Cave does. The man is a fucking lizard. A well dressed lizard in a pin striped suit.

Warren Ellis provided most of the sonic landscape, alternating between maracas, violin, and mandocaster. All of which he tortured in an awesome display of chaos, which at times he did while rolling around on the stage. It only looked like chaos, and you could tell that it’s pretty well rehearsed. Ellis knows exactly what he’s doing even if he looks like he’s going to explode and rain down beard hair and sweat at any moment.

The sounds that the band produced, however cacophonous, were pretty close to what you’ll hear on the Grinderman and Grinderman 2 albums. The beauty was in seeing them performed, even though most of the time you’re wondering “how the fuck…”. So yeah, it was best to just enjoy it and listen. Just to watch Ellis rocking the Hasidic/Halloween Hobo look was worth the $35.

But it was all about Cave after all. Moving between guitar, piano and the occasional hasty swat at a tambourine, the guy’s intensity still blows 95% of today’s frontmen out of the water. And with the kind of balls he brought to the show, this band can get away with anything.

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