Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Black Diamond Heavies | Riviera Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Black Diamond Heavies Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., Sept. 28 and Mon., Sept. 29, 8 p.m. 2008

On Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Anti-/Mute), his first album with the Bad Seeds in four years, Nick Cave is on fire—and I can’t help but think it was Grinderman that provided the spark. In that stripped-down side project Cave reached back to the feral, unhinged swagger of his old band the Birthday Party but held onto the precision-guided wit he’s developed in the decades since. This incarnation of the Bad Seeds taps into that vein, ditching the piano ballads in favor of rock energy so expertly harnessed that even the wildest performances display impressive dynamic control. Cave’s digressive, ranting lyrics are as funny and sharp as ever, full of dissolute characters grappling with meaninglessness: Lazarus (or “Larry,” as Cave calls him) is a rootless jet-setter who wants to dig back into his tomb, and hapless Henry from “Albert Goes West” loses his way “Deep in the weeping forests of Le Vulva.” Many rock stars become caricatures of themselves as they age, but Cave has done more than simply avoid that—though he just turned 51, he’s recovered much of the prickly charisma and raw power of his youth. —Peter Margasak

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