Monday, November 15, 2010

Grinderman @ Best Buy Theater

Grinderman; Armen Ra
@ Best Buy Theater
New York, NY - November 14, 2010

Grinderman can best be described in the moment in which Nick Cave casually threw his tambourine behind him in a moment of rock n roll swagger...only to have that tambourine thwack Warren Ellis right in his face. That lovingly hilarious half-assed cockrockery encapsulates this glorious side project, the Id of the Bad Seeds that first reared its serpentine head in 2007. Back then, Grinderman only appeared at shows in New York and San Francisco. This time, in support of their album sequel, they are embarking on an actual tour and they began their American Sojourn back in the city where they stole the show out from under the White Stripes all those years ago.

The bawdy, delirious, rantings of Cave, combined with the tomfoolery of Ellis - who presumably is holding a family hostage in some Outback shack - and driven by the punk speed thundering of Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos - make for the fittingly disjointed, incongruous, malcontented sounds of Grinderman. Ellis is screaming "Evil" from the floor while Sclavunos is murdering his drums. Cave is changing (or forgetting - as middle aged men are known to do) his lyrics while Casey...well...while Casey discovers his new found beard.

The new record has a sense of epic about it - "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man", "Worm Tamer", and "Evil" sound big. Live, these songs were quick, bashed, and thrown at the audience. The same treatment was given to songs from the first record - "Get It On", "No Pussy Blues", "Grinderman", "When My Love Comes Down to Meet You" and "Love Bomb". But just when it seemed that Cave and co. were going to level you to the ground, they take "Palaces of Montezuma" and give it the Lanois/Eno-ish mystique (as in Joshua Tree) and prop up the extra cut "My Daddy is an Astronaut" with a shocking sense of grace - the kind of grace that adds a severe twist to the work of the Bad Seeds - the grace that keeps Nick from going back to the Birthday Party.

Armen Ra played the theremin for a half hour. He was the first act that I witnessed get heckled in quite a while. But then he played the theme from The Godfather and that seemed to appease the ruffled.

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At November 15, 2010 at 10:15:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armen Ra did NOT get heckled you idiot. He tore up the house and you could hear a pin drop during his ENTIRE set, and was the first opening act I have ever seen get a a reaction like that, maybe you were the only person heckling. Even before the show all I heard was OMG I can't wait to see ARMEN RA! What a schmuck.

At November 15, 2010 at 11:58:00 AM EST, Blogger Elwood D. Pennypacker said...

Actually I was not one of the hecklers. I was ambivalent about the performance so chose to let what I observed speak for itself. If pressed, I would say I enjoyed it but not without some other instrumentation to accompany him.

At February 13, 2011 at 1:03:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at this show and never heard anyone heckle him. Had no idea who he was until that night and really enjoyed his set and so did everyone else dude, did you hear the applause? He's played at Disney Hall and Lincoln Center.As an opening act, I doubt he was able to bring a 50 piece orchestra! I can't imagine anyone being ambivalent to someone that stunning and talented. Besides spewing your worthless opinion, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER THE WORLD? Jealous much?


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