Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Nick Cave

Live Seeds

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Exactly what it says it is, and quite good at that -- some fans consider many of the songs on Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live Seeds to be superior to their studio equivalent -- a testament to its overall quality. Recorded at various spots on the Henry's Dream tour and originally sold with a small picture book documenting said tour, Live features the same sextet that performed on Dream bringing the noise with commanding authority. Cave himself is unsurprisingly in excelsis, his declamatory and quieter sides both showcased with skill. Mick Harvey and Blixa Bargeld's guitar exploits, sometimes snarling with fire and other times strumming with deceptive calm, lead the charge from the rest, with the Thomas Wydler and Martyn P. Casey rhythm section ratcheting up the intensity, and Conway Savage's piano and organ work shading everything out. Three of the thirteen songs are from Dream, with the rest drawn from throughout Cave's solo career, including a dramatic version of "From Her to Eternity" that takes the 1987 re-recording as its start and gets an even more punishing makeover. Few cuts differ drastically from the more familiar album versions, but generally everything is crisper, at times much more brusque, perhaps exchanging texture for force. The opening performance of "The Mercy Seat" doesn't achieve the melodramatic power of the Tender Prey performance, but still makes for a fiery start, Cave's lyric of dues-paying via death delivered with the appropriate power. The Dream cuts arguably are the most different from their studio takes, given a more punchy approach all around, especially on "Brother, My Cup Is Empty." Other highlights include the beautiful passion of "The Ship Song," its tearjerking appeal fully intact, and the doom-laden "The Weeping Song," Bargeld and Cave's duet once again a striking fusion of voices. An end-of-the-night singalong take on "New Morning" concludes this striking record, definitely one of Cave's best.

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