Grinderman reminded last night’s (July 25th) sold-out Metro crowd what many have forgotten: angsty teens don’t have shit on aged and embittered rockers. Black suited with unbuttoned shirts and rugged charm, Cave and his musical mates — multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, guitarist Martyn P. Casey, and drummer Jim Sclavunos — rushed the stage with a hungry assault, igniting their two hour-long set with the album’s ravenous title track, “Grinderman.” Cave only occasionally brushed the keys, preferring a gnawing guitar moan, but other times, sans instrument, the long-stached frontman would gyrate to the fury of Ellis’ viola (“Depth Charge Ethel”). Sclavunos’ rhythms chiefly grounded the chaos, but let loose on a “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars).” In the midst of the show’s deafening roar, Cave engaged the audience, teetering on the monitor to dangle his cigarette over the barricade, bumming a light from one lucky front-row fan prior to the balls-out rocker “Love Bomb,” which polished off the band’s set.
A few pre-encore stage adjustments paved the way for Grinderman’s grand finish, complete with thrilling renditions of Bad Seed cuts such as “Deanna” and “Red Right Hand.” Admitting to the band’s equipment and logistical handicaps, Cave playfully smirked towards the audience asking, “Anything you wanna hear? It’s been a while.” With the entire audience writhing in bliss to “The Weeping Song,” Cave’s lighthearted prologue was hard to believe.
We asked: Nick Cave and some of his Bad Seeds revamped their sound under the Grinderman moniker. If you could adopt a new persona, what would it be?