The dark and moody Nick Cave was joined by Bad Seeds/Grinderman bandmate Warren Ellis last night at Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA. Cave and Ellis are outstanding musicians in their own right but together the two create an onstage sound and presence that is at once overwhelming and cinematic. While Ellis stayed mostly seated throughout the show, Cave alternated between his piano and the mic, dramatically crooning to the audience with intense and almost scary eye contact.
The stage was barren save for the instruments and some dramatic stage lighting which served to emphasize the moodiness of the evening. Poignant spotlights and contrasting darkness made a moody show as shade more gray.
The music flowed from the gloomy to the darkly romantic, as one would have expected from Nick Cave and featured many songs from the Cave/Ellis collaboration, ‘Carnage’ that was released last year. Highlighted by songs like “Lavender Fields” (where the two were joined by heavenly singer Wendy Rose), “White Elephant” and the title track of the album, “Carnage,” Cave and Ellis gave an amazing live interpretation to the music. Cave also dipped back to some non-‘Carnage’ tracks that were amazing to hear live, such as “Cosmic Dancer,” that was slower, more melodic and beautiful.