It's only been 9 months since Nick Cave and his Grindermen visited Copenhagen last time at Falkoner Salen. The setlists turned out to be pretty identical. Nick had lost his mustache though so what could we expect on a lazy Tuesday evening in Copenhagen's Store Vega? Well, more about that in a minute or so.
The support band was Gemma Ray, an Essex girl who is now living in Berlin. She proved to be a nice surprise and she played a fine set. She was accompanied by a drummer and an organ player and her music and voice sounded not far from PJ Harvey at times. She had a great voice and played a lot of slide guitar, sometimes with a slide, but also with a large knife she had mounted on her guitar! (wonder if she has ever heard about the ridiculous Danish law called "Knivloven".) She received warm and well deserved applause from the audience when she finished her set which had lasted some 35 minutes.
Lazy Tuesday I said? Well, things changed in a split second when a phenomenally nuclear powered maniac named Nick Cave kick-started the most intensive hour of rock'n'roll madness I have ever seen him deliver. He floated on top of the front rows and he shook hands with fans (yup, I touched his hand too, twice actually, haha) and he sang and shouted right in our faces. For several minutes he was only about a meter away from me since he kept coming back to sing to a girl standing next to me. Quite intense and intimate even for a Vega show.
Jim Sclavunos (with a trimmed beard compared to the last Copenhagen gig) on drums and Martyn Casey playing a very worn-out bass guitar kept the rhythm rocking for the entire show, while Nick Cave went mad either crawling on top of the front rows or molesting his keyboards and guitar. Warren Ellis being the wonderful freak he is, still looks like a caveman with his enormous beard and he was as crazy as ever playing his instruments while standing up or lying on the floor.
We were only into the second song of the set "Worm Tamer" when Nick smashed his guitar onto the stage floor and he ran down the microphone stand too several times keeping the stage crew very busy. Highlight for me was a thunderous "Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars)" that made the whole audience jump and dance, but there were so many other highlights during that first hour. Nick Cave made all the sexually charged lyrics come to life with tons of humor, nasty remarks and crowd interaction. Especially a line "Hey, don't do that on the carpet!" was repeated constantly to much laughter.
The encore was more controlled and not so wild as the first hour had been. But after the first two more quiet (but beautiful) songs "Palaces of Montezuma" and "Man in the Moon", things got wilder again in "When My Love Comes Down" with a heavy distorted guitar solo from Ellis, until they finally exploded completely in "Love Bomb". Last song "Grinderman" was delivered at a thunderous volume that could almost match a Motörhead gig! When it all had ended, Cave thanked us all for a fantastic evening and we could only agree with loud applause. Cave also said he was very happy to be back in a "small" club after having been playing several festival gigs with other lousy bands.
The heat in Vega had been intense and the sweat was pouring down from people's faces when we left the concert room with happy smiles on our faces. Yes, there's a few songs in the setlist which I'm still not totally digging, but with the power and will and complete dedication delivered by a fully ignited Grinderman on this fine evening, I couldn't give a fuck. It was an evening that will be remembered for a long time by those who were lucky enough to be there.
Grinderman playing time: 1h30 (including a 5m break)
Setlist was (almost, if not) identical to the setlist at Falkoner salen in Oktober 2010.