May 23, 2005

Nick Cave, Doctor Who and caffeine

Nick Cave gig was alright, not mindblowing - the songs sounded pretty much like the albums as the Bad Seeds aren't really 'allowed' to improvise on stage - they're maybe more of a studio group if anything. They've got Warren Ellis from the Dirty Three on violin - which was kind of like keeping a lion in the zoo. It's unfair to criticise them for not doing something they weren't trying to do though - the Bad Seeds are more of a concept than anything (as opposed to a band which comes from a chemistry between specific individuals); their sole purpose is to provide the most appropriate backing for Nick Cave's songs. But I couldn't help but notice that Nick didn't introduce the band individually - they were just "the Bad Seeds" and "our talented gospel singers".

Having said that, they're great at what they do. Abbatoir Blues is a seriously good album, and having followed the double album up with a triple, B-sides & Rarities, Nick's obviously on a roll. But replicating the album on stage doesn't quite work for me - that was the problem I had with seeing Radiohead live in 1998 (plus the fact that Radiohead played at deafening volume and the people were packed in like hot sweaty sardines). I prefer Bob Dylan's approach, where the songs played live sound nothing like the songs on the albums.

Nick's one comment to the audience was "It's great to be at the Melbourne Festival Hall - when I was young I used to see some great bands here: the Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Yes, Manfred Mann... who would have thought?" Obviously taking the piss but in quite a multi-layered way.

After that I had to get up at 5.30am and go to work, shifting office equipment. It was mostly boxes and files rather than furniture - you'd have to work a lot harder for $15/hr in NZ. There was a coffee machine that kept me going. Also, being up on the 39th floor I got my first look at Melbourne from up high. The business district looks a lot bigger than it does from the ground, and the suburbs go as far as the eye can see. Four million people is the same as the whole population of NZ.

After an 11-hour shift I biked home in time to see the first new episode of Doctor Who on Saturday.

It's bloody brilliant.

I suppose I could be a pushover, but on the other hand I was pretty underwhelmed by the 1996 attempt at restarting it (in an American setting, with Paul McGann from Withnail & I as the Doctor). Christopher Eccleston grins his head off, kind of like Tom Baker but in his own way - he's obviously playing against his usual grim northern-realist roles (nice exchange: 'you sound like you're from the north'; Doctor replies, 'lots of planets have a north'). I'm a bit sad that he's quit the show after only one season, so there'll have to be a 10th Doctor next year. On the other hand, the major difference from the original series seems to be that the new show is much faster paced. It's totally contemporary, good special effects for once, well written, not bogged down in back-story from the original series, and best of all it's very much British rather than American sf. So for the first time in years, since TV Nation and Frontline were both on, I'm going to be a regular tv watcher.

Then Sunday I had another long day shifting office stuff. I was running purely on caffeine. Hopefully, with two and a half days work last week I made enough money to cover my costs. So I managed to halt the decline. But it was just casual work and so now on Monday I'm staring at the void again. Hopefully there's more work - if I can get to the point where I've got more rather than less money in the bank each week I'll be doing alright...

Posted by fiffdimension at May 23, 2005 02:22 PM | TrackBack
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