All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

86

Grinderman: Novi Sad, Serbia, July 10, 2011

Grinderman: Novi Sad, Serbia, July 10, 2011
Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Grinderman
Exit Festival
Novi Sad, Serbia
July 10, 2011

The well-known adage that all roads lead to Rome may not be entirely true when the Exit festival is happening, as all roads seem to lead there. For four days—taking place at the Petrovaradin fortress near Novi Sad—Serbia welcomes floods of people from all over the world who are attracted by its exotic location, good food and excellent music. Considering its history and things that have happened there, there is nothing like it and nothing can be compared to it. It really is an enormous city-within-a-city, its guests constantly on the move, looking for various hidden music treasures at various corners of the fortress. Nick Cave's Grinderman concert was one of the highlights of the festival's twelfth edition, one that absolutely floored the audience.

As a band, Grinderman has been spewing its sweaty mix of noisy punk blues for the last five years. One thing is certain: the band is brutally direct, evil and scary. No wonder Pitchfork has called it "Cave's schizophrenic and sloppy midlife crisis project." It takes everything that is despicable, ugly, dangerous, vile and tasteless in rock and runs with it, magnified even further in a live setting, where its potent cocktail of raw improvised sound is explosive.

Grinderman represents Cave's attempt to try something different in order to shake off stale routine and do things that his flagship group, The Bad Seeds (despite three musicians being common to both) could not. Cave's creative spark has clearly been relit after the foul and uninspired Nocturama (Mute, 2003), with better output such as the twin album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (Mute, 2004) and, eventually, this Grinderman side-project.

Throughout its 60-minute set, Grinderman struck a perfect balance between theatricality and its raunchy, noisy, lo-fi and sometimes bizarre blues-rock assault. The show was cathartic fun from the very beginning. Cave was always in motion—jumping, bouncing, crowd-diving or playing a guitar (an instrument he had never played before) or keyboards. Certain bands or people truly embody the spirit of the music that they play, and certainly Cave didn't have any problems living up to his ferocious reputation onstage. It often seemed that he was channeling the weird and manic energy of a demonically possessed man and, as such, was a sight to behold, playing and singing with furious intensity. This was a prime example of a charismatic rock front man, backed by seasoned musicians with the fire and drive to prove themselves.

The band went from song to song with a sense of reckless abandon, as Cave and guitarist/violinist Warren Ellis traded off beefy guitar riffs and noise. It seemed that Ellis served as both a musical and sparring partner, the two sometimes screaming, and often crashing and bouncing off each other. Drummer Jim Sclavunos was an animal behind the kit, pounding out both brutal and delicate rhythmsm while bassist Martin Casey—whose birthday was that night—served as the anchor around which all of the music and improvisations revolved.

The set list featured exclusively songs by Grinderman, including "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man," "Worm Tamer," "Get It On," "Heathen Child," "Evil," "When My Baby Comes, " "Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars)," "Kitchenette," "No Pussy Blues," "Bellringer Blues," "Grinderman," and, as an encore, "Love Bomb."

Few in attendance could have predicted such energy. The band seemed to be indefatigable, indulging in a demanding physical performance that defied the onset of the supposed old age. It took a bunch of men in their fifties to show an entire generation of young bands how it should be done. Grinderman was a perfect example of the way 21st century rock music should sound: raw, unpolished, unpredictable, unbalanced, dangerous and mad.


Photo Credit
Dimitar Petrovski

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium Live Reviews
The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium
by Roger Weisman
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre Live Reviews
Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre" Live Reviews Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Berlin Jazzfest 2017" Live Reviews Berlin Jazzfest 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland" Live Reviews David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at...
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42" Live Reviews Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018