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Nick Cave And PJ Harvey Reunite Onstage
Luke Turner , October 12th, 2009 20:04

Henry Lee performed at fan request during Bunny Munro event

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Nick Cave was joined onstage by PJ Harvey during an special, one-off concert in London on Sunday night.

The gig, which coincides with the publication of Cave's second novel, The Death Of Bunny Munro, took place at the Palace Theatre in London. Cave was taking questions from the floor, and at one point a girl asked whether he would ask Harvey to join him onstage if she were present in the theatre.

Harvey, seated in a box to the left of the stage, gave Cave a wave, and he said he'd love her to sing but only if she wanted to. "If it was the other way round, I'd be mortified," he said, and snapped back at one fan who requested that they "play 'Fleeting Love'" with a sharp "you're a funny cunt". Interestingly, Cave had opened the evening singing 'West Country Girl', written about his relationship with Harvey.

Harvey, wearing a shimmering black dress, appeared on the stage. Cave gestured to fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis, sporting his customary prodigious beard, and introduced him to Harvey saying "there's Warren in there". Cave and Harvey went on to sing 'Henry Lee', accompanied by Ellis and Martin Casey on bass.

The two hour event saw Cave reading extracts from his new novel, accompanied by sound from Ellis and visuals by the artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. Although the book has had something of a shoeing from various critics, it strangely worked a lot better in the literary reading setting, Cave's vocal delivery lifting his words from the coarse black and white - after all, if you read some of his lyrics set down on paper they don't quite work as well as with the musical accompaniment.

Cave performed three readings, refusing an audience request that he finish the evening with another saying "I read a whole lot of the fucking thing, with projections.... go and see Will Self in the back of Waterstones."

Fans got value for money, though, as Cave, Ellis and Casey played versions of an impressive setlist of the Bad Seeds back catalogue. Best of all were noisier tracks rearranged for the trio set up (especially Grinderman's 'Grinderman') though much of the set was drawn from the later, more reflective piano-led Bad Seeds albums.

Setlist below, but after all that what you really want to know is the answer to the reason why Nick Cave no longer sports that moustache: "My wife found my stash of rohypnol, drugged me and shaved it off"

An Evening With Nick Cave set list:

'West Country Girl'
'Hold Onto Yourself'
'Lime Tree Arbour'
'Mercy Seat'
'God Is In The House'
'The Weeping Song'
'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!'
[one of the piano ones that are a bit dull]
'Henry Lee' (ft. PJ Harvey)
'Do You Love Me' (rent boy version)
'Baby, You Turn Me On'
'Into My Arms'

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Oct 12, 2009 7:34am

Excellent review. What another extraordinary historic event. That dull piano song is called "He wants you" off of Nocturama. One of my favorites.

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Oct 12, 2009 4:37pm

Nice review - except for the comments on the set list. Thanks to the previous poster for providing the title for the 'dull piano one' and shame on Mr. Turner for not bothering to get it right. Also, the substitution of 'rent boy version' for the correct song title: 'Do You Love Me (Part 2)' is not lazy, it is trashy, and something I'd expect in a personal fan blog account rather than in a publication like 'The Quietus'. Your disregard for Mr. Cave's back catalogue is a wee bit obvious. Unfortunate. Nonetheless, I've included your post on today's Bulletin Board.

Cheers, Morgan Wolf
Admin, Nick Cave Fixes Blog

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Luke Turner
Oct 12, 2009 4:48pm

Sorry if you were miffed, Morgan. The comment was born from a slight frustration that by far the best tracks Cave & co played were fascinating rearrangements of the more aggressive material from the Bad Seeds (and Grinderman) catalogue. Therefore hearing slightly overly-simple versions from Nocturama et al was a little disappointing - I'd argue that that is the Bad Seeds' weakest album. I didn't spot the song because, unlike the rest of his catalogue, I haven't played that album to death over the past ten years or so.

We do like to put a bit of comment in, you know. But thanks very much for the link, that's much appreciated.

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Oct 12, 2009 5:50pm

Thanks for explaining, Luke. I understand perfectly now that you've explained. Nocturama is not my favorite, either. Perhaps Nick and the band will re-think what they want to include from the back catalogue on future tours? It will be difficult to please everyone. As for the Nick-PJ 'reunion', it feels like Old Home Month for Mr. Cave. Fixes reader are wildly excited about the upcoming Oct 17 event in Hamburg with the long-departed (but never forgotten) Blixa Bargeld. We're hoping they'll do The Weeping Song, even if sung off-key and with jumbled lyrics. Just like old times. :D


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Luke Turner
Oct 12, 2009 5:56pm

Morgan - what's the event with Blixa? I am most intrigued by that.

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Karen Hart
Oct 13, 2009 3:09pm

In reply to :

Yep, good review except you also missed out The Ship Song. Certainly not a dull piano one. Blasphemy.

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Oct 14, 2009 3:18am

Just saw him in Edinburgh. It was an absolute classic selection of tracks, he encored with a peppy version of Red Right Hand (though I shouted for Papa won't leave you, Henry) the ship song, grinderman, tupelo and God is in the house were beautiful. His readings were very engaging as well, better than I expected if I'm honest, and he was in a witty mood and the band had fun. Initially I was put off by the stupid things like the 50s parody video(a stylistic joke that's been done to death 10 years ago) and the hand cream samples which seemed gimmicky, but he won me back at west country girl.

The negatives were, I find that version of Do You Love Me utter rubbish, it's awful with out the bass thumping alongside the chorus. Needs to be done away with.

Also, I think his stage show is poorer for Harvey of the Mick variety departing. Ellis is fantastic violinist and showman but Harvey's skill on the acoustic guitar and other instruments was sorely missed in such intimate arrangements.

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Oct 20, 2009 10:13pm

Any pictures or video?

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