There’s a graphic novel by Warren Ellis – the writer/comic book guy, not Grinderman guitarist, though they share the name – called Ignition City. It’s based on a, yunno, dusty, post-apocalyptic outpost on Earth, the only place where anybody can get to travel “off world”. Ignition City is tough, horrible. The people are corrupt. The humans share space with crab and longboy aliens, fight for scraps, and gun-fuck people who irriate them. They also drink a lot of whisky at a bar called “World’s End” owned by savvy black-haired barkeep Gayle.
If “World’s End” had a house band, it’d be Nick Cave’s project Grinderman. Forget Max Rebo and his jizz-wailers in Return of the Jedi, Grinderman is the kind of band you want playing if you’re angry, no longer value your hearing and happen to be doing shooters in Hell.
Grinderman is also the reanimated Bad Seeds, Cave’s outlaw Band of Scary Men. And while Cave may lead the charge, leading the beard
and bonkers brigade is multi-instru-MENTALLIST Warren Ellis (the other one). During opener “Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man”, Ellis and Cave charged around and into each other, and through second song “Worm Tamer” Ellis wielded his battered violin bow like a sword. And then stuck it down the back of his shirt so his hands were free to beat the crap out of whatever else was around him. These are men in their 50s with receding hairlines, people. Rock on.
Grinderman play loud, aggressive, errr, grinding, bluesrock. It’s music that sounds like mud sucked through a jet engine with lyrics by the Bard of Blackness. If there’s a complaint about Grinderman it’s that they’re too fucking loud – Cave’s a legend and his lyrics are a wasteland wonderland, rife with evil, poetry and bad blood…but live, the music kicks the shit out of you so you can’t appreciate it.
In fact, such was the bombast that bartenders at the very BACK of the venue stood with their fingers in their ears. But that’s what earplugs are for, right? So while mouths in the audience hung open in awe and blood trickled over earlobes, Grinderman raged all over them. Awww yeah.
“Heathen Child” sounded appropriately sludgy, “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)” sped forth like a turbo and “No Pussy Blues” effectly reclaimed the term “wall of sound”. ” But the highlight? A possessed Cave, perched on gear boxes in the photopit to bring him closer to his flock, glaring, staring and lurching into the front rows for “Kitchenette” (a frankly creepyawesome track)…whilst yelling in a high-pitched voice “Tippy-toes! Tippy tippy toes!” and pretending to scamper on the spot. Hands reached up for Cave, and if I’m not mistaken I believe he shot lasers from his eyes back at them.
Terrifying, enormous and bat-shit insane, Nick Cave’s Grinderman are playing Satan’s birthday party at World’s End. Be there. It’ll be wicked.\m/
ALL GRINDERMAN PHOTOS BY KRIS KRÜG
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