Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Released on May 5, Lovely Creatures is presented as a slim hardback book with a thoughtful essay by novelist/insider Kirk Lake (who appeared in the Cave “doco” 20,000 Days on Earth) plus photos, recording and interview details.
This intelligent artefact scoops up 35 seminal tracks – yes, we uber-fans will note omissions – but the scope here is exceptional.
And as broad as it could have been.
Of the music across the CDs, it moves forward from the scouring title track to From Her to Eternity through harrowing visions (Mercy Seat, Red Right Hand, Stagger Lee) and gorgeous ballads (Straight to You) and on to the almost holy closer Push the Sky Away.
The non-chronological interviews on the DVD come from down the decades and are peppered between the clips (of variable quality but sometimes fans-eye view phone footage) which show the growth of an artist from the shades-wearing and damaged songwriter to the thoughtful and witty poet of today.
And yet the consistency of his vision over three decades is what you are left with.
Nick Cave has always explored the beauty of darkness, the unknown world beyond the veil of life and the preciousness of a light in the night . . . whether it be faith, music or the power of self-belief.
These days he and various Seeds play big rooms (the Vector Arena?) but such places are not his natural home.
At a Vector or a Glastonbury Festival – a flat floor at Vector and a bloody big field at Glastonbury --Cave as always addresses the front few rows so his special intensity can be lost.
His music of deep Old Testament revelation, spook blues from the Twenties and Thirties (which reaches back further) and his emotional intimacy require a closeness.
And that is where the DVD clips works in your favour: The camera -- and grimy video -- can get closer to him and the band than you ever could from a distance . . . although it is extraordinary to see people at Glastonbury so far away from the stage singing along with every word, while people beside them check their phones.
Nick Cave and the many Bad Seeds (see the photo below for just how many) also seem made for black’n’white footage and there is some of that here too from television performances, and they are among the best.