Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"October 7, 2008"

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
October 7, 2008

Between a pair of high-waisted pants matched with a cravat and strands of gold chains hanging behind half-buttoned dress shirts, who knew Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds with special guests Kid Congo Powers and The Pink Monkey Birds would be celebrating Tuesday Night Fever at Philadelphia's Electric Factory?

With previous membership in notable bands such as The Gun Club, The Cramps and the evening's headliners, Kid Congo Powers showcased a bit of each with his current band, The Pink Monkey Birds. While the quartet had some initial difficulty with some electronics hooked up to the drum kit, that didn't get them down. Kicking out psychedelically-tinged surf songs with Powers' aloof but intentional lyrics sprinkled into the mix time to time. In high-waisted blue trousers and a navy cravat, Powers elicited swirling, buzzing effects from his guitar as he knelt before his amp and often throughout the set worked the tremolo on his Fender guitar.

Included in Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds' set list was The Gun Club's "Sex Beat" and "For The Love Of Ivy" and Bo Diddley's "Funky Fly." Also played were tracks from their own upcoming album "Dracula Boots," such as "A Pretty Girl Is As Rare As The Yeti" and "LSDC," which Powers said was about the strange things going on in the capitol, where he recently moved.

While many acts might be showing some wear and tear on the final night of their tour before a break, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, well, they're not "most bands." Aside from some frustration with a keyboard that wasn't working (read as kicking over a keyboard and a lyric stand), Cave seemed in good spirits as witnessed by his mocking of an audience member's "shitty mustache" and his observation of the venue's unusually high stage ("Either that or you're all very short. You need step ladders.") while other times Cave and Warren Ellis joked, playing off each other all evening. As commanding as ever, Cave worked the entirety of the stage, jumping, kicking and thrusting his hips. On the occasion that it hung on his shoulder, his yellow Telecaster seemed like nothing more than a prop as Cave's energetic antics and vocals appeared to always be the main focus.

The rest of the band was as fascinating as ever to watch as they got caught up in their own instruments and the songs. Old favorites ("Tupelo," "Hard On For Love") and well-loved standards ("Red Right Hand," "Deanna") made appearances as did, unsurprisingly, tracks from the band's latest release ("Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!," "We Call Upon The Author") to the crowd's cheers. "Stagger Lee" got a slightly jazzy interpretation while "The Mercy Seat" sounded fuller and "Into My Arms" was a rarity of the evening, seeing Cave properly seated behind the keyboard.

A professional and well oiled machine, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds were in good form and showing off just what experience (and good music) can do for a band.

Also, a special "thanks" to the Electric Factory for confiscating my pen.