Yes indeed people, time to put another shrimp on the barbie cause it's time to celebrate Australia Day. Here's the long story cut short just for you: From 1946, January 26 was called Australia Day in all states and territories, and since 1994, the Australia Day public holiday has been on January 26 throughout the country because it marks the day of colonization.
So to mark this momentous occasion, we've brought you some of our favorite artists and bands from the land down under. There's plenty of variety to choose from that'll make everyone happy. They've all agreed to play at the prestigious Luna Park in Milsons Point, Sydney.
As they take to the stage at the Big Top, the first band sets up their equipment to unleash a night you'll never forget.
Let's get this party started:
The Living End - Carry Me Home (Chart made by FUGGNUTZ)
Daddy Cool - Eagle Rock (Chart made by Ultimate_MANG0, Vocals by GreenPanda12)
Wolfmother - Far Away (Chart made by nsw 1-6, Vocals by GreenPanda12, Pro Keys/5-lane Keys by ejthedj)
The Smith Street Band - Forrest (Chart made by Kamotch)
Message from Kamotch: When I heard about the date dedicated to Australian bands/artists, it ended up being a perfect fit for me. I had, at the time, recently downloaded the album "More Scared of You than You Are of Me" by The Smith Street Band after having learned about them through their relationship with my favorite artist, Jeff Rosenstock, who produced the album. The band is almost aggressively Australian. The first song I heard by them, also the first song on the album, immediately caught my interest. I had it on repeat for like a week straight! Anyway this is the song. Every instrument is fun, in my opinion. The guitar has a neat little solo! The bass is super varied! The drums are blah blah blah fun! Enjoy the song and Happy Australia Day!
Sheppard - Geronimo (Chart made by FUGGNUTZ)
Pendulum - Granite (Chart made by FUGGNUTZ)
Troye Sivan - My My My! (Chart made by GreenPanda12)
Ball Park Music - Sad Rude Future Dude (Chart made by GreenPanda12)
Daryl Braithwaite - The Horses (Chart made by GreenPanda12, Guitar, Bass and Drums by Ultimate_MANG0, Pro Keys/5-lane Keys by ejthedj)
Redgum - I Was Only Nineteen (Chart made by Ultimate_MANG0, Vocals by GreenPanda12)
What a great setlist from our opening acts. So many different styles of genres have played here tonight. But now it's time to introduce the main act for tonight. For this, I'll hand the reins over to yaniv297:
So what do Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, Harry Potter and the rest from that hint have in common? That’s right, Nick Cave. The Australian legend, “the prince of darkness”, a master songwriter and performer, is already 61, but he’s at the heights of his power. His latest album, “Skeleton Tree”, influenced by the tragedy of losing his son, his regarded one of his best. He finished a big arena tour, played huge spots in festivals all over the world, to great response, and is currently at the middle of a “Conversations” tour – intimate solo shows where he answers questions from the audience.
This pack will follow him at three key albums through his career, chronologically, presenting two classics from each. Here we go:
Since we’ll do it chronologically, as an introduction of his early stuff, here’s the 1990 love anthem “The Ship Song
”, which I’ve charted a long time ago.
ALBUM ONE: Let Love In (1994)
This is my 5th favorite album of all time 😉. It’s just a complete masterpiece. Those songs I’ve chosen here aren’t even the best in the album – neither would make my top 3 – but they were chosen because of the best fit to RB, and most well known. But honestly, just listen to that record, it’s special.
We’ll start with possibly the deepest cut in this pack. “Loverman” is Cave at his heaviest and darkest – but with a wry twist of black humor, as always. It was heavy enough to inspire Metallica to cover it – a nice gesture, even though their version is IMO nowhere near the original. Kicking from a classic opening declaration from Cave: “There’s a devil waiting outside your door”, the song unfolds the story of the “Loverman”, who is some kind of sexual predator, stalker, possibly a rapist: “I’ve got a masterplan, to take off your dress and be your man”… It’s simulantly a story of a terrible human being, and a cry for help: “Help me baby, I’ve got no choice… I am what I am”.
Musically, the Bad Seeds create a typically masterful atmosphere, before completely exploding in the chorus. Which then continues into a memorable recreation of the title’s letters: “V is for VIRTUE, I ain’t gonna hurt you – E is for EVEN if you want me to”. Instrument wise, the drum will definitely have a blast in this one, and the entire band switch between careful creepy atmosphere to rocking the fuck out (in a similarly creepy atmosphere). It’s a good one.
Speaking of masterful atmospheres, there’s a reason why “Red Right Hand” is featured in loads of movies and TV shows, including all 3 first "Scream" movies, and it’s also the title track of “Peaky Blinders”. The Bad Seeds really outdone themselves this time – based on a brilliant and sexy bass line, some brushed drums, and a huge bell – creating an unforgettable soundscape, as Cave unfolds his tale on the mystical tall figure.
One of Cave’s most well known tunes, it’s a highlight of his live shows, and been covered by countless artists: Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker and Iggy Pop, Laura Marling and more. A true classic, long overdue at RB.
ALBUM TWO: Murder Ballads (1996)
Nick Cave wasn’t kidding with the title to this one. The album tells 9 murder ballads, with an overall body count of 76 deaths (that’s not including ambiguous lines like “he’s done many many more”), before concluding with an all-star cover of Bob Dylan’s “Death Is Not the End”. It’s also one of Cave’s funniest albums, and includes two high-profile duets with PJ Harvey and Kylie Minogue (which, of course, both end in murder). Cave’s certainly an interesting guy.
The PJ Harvey duet, “Henry Lee
”, was already released in her pack back in September. It’s time for two more:
A note of caution: this song, and this description, includes a lot of curse words and a few, hmm, not-very-subtle sexual and violent descriptions. So if this kind of thing offends you, feel free to skip to the next song.
I just had to include that one, didn’t I? I mean, I think Nick Cave has written some absolute, heartfelt, touching and deep masterpieces. So sometimes I get a bit annoyed when people focus on what is essentially a meme song – even though it’s a fucking excellent one.
But on the other hand: this song has inspired a whole community of Stagger Lee and Billy Dilly memes (like the one above), it made shirts that simply say “good pussy” legit Nick Cave merchandise, was the climax of countless shows, with Cave crowd surfing and shouting “SUCK MY DICK!” into the eyes of some terrified audience member, and recently lots of stage invasions too. It’s just a legendary tune, and it has to be here.
Technically, a cover of a popular 1895 folk song – even though personally, I’ve never heard any variation that sounded even remotely like Cave’s version, lyrically or musically – so I’m pretty sure it’s in practice an original tune. This is Cave’s take on gangster rap, taking the classic story of mass murdered Stagger Lee, with yet another badass bassline, and giving it a classic Cave twist - this is Nick at his absolute most badass.
Cave drops classic, profanity filled one liners (“She sees the barkeeper, says ‘Oh god he can’t be dead!’. Stag says, ‘well, just count the holes in the motherfucker’s head”) – too many more to mention, really – before the song takes a surprising homosexual twist, as Stagger Lee rejects a hooker in favor of her boyfriend (or in Cave’s colorful language, “I’ll crawl over 50 good pussies just to get to one fat boy’s asshole” – hence the “good pussy” shirts). Oh and, let’s not forget the classic rhyming – “I’m gonna sit right here till time comes to pass, and furthermore I’ll fuck Billy Dilly in his motherfucking ass”.
This song becomes an even huger monster live, often spanning 10 minutes with the Devil himself being introduced – and shot by Stagger Lee, of course. On a personal note, here's one of those performances
, where I was lucky enough to be on stage with Nick as a part of the stage invasion - so see if you can spot me
And it's quite a brilliant performance anyway!
I could go on forever – but really, this song has to be heard to be believed. And now you can not only hear it, but play it, and try to sing those lyrics yourself. Just make sure there’s no kids around before you do.
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely pair than Cave and Kylie Minogue. Both are Australians, but they don’t really share much else in common – he’s an alternative rocker whose made a name of dark and disturbing tunes, she’s a mainstream pop artist who writes catchy, light tunes. The story of how this song came to life, is almost as disturbing as the song itself, as Cave himself recalls: “I had a quiet obsession with Kylie for about six years. I wrote several songs for her, none of which I felt was appropriate to give her.” Until he wrote this one, which was finally appropriate – a romantic duet which ends, of course, with Cave murdering Kylie. We’re still on “Murder Ballads”, after all.
Cave sent her the tape, and – against the advice of pretty much all her advisors – Kylie decided to do it. The result was a huge success – even gaining them a nomination for MTV awards (which Cave refused – “music is not an horse race”, according to him). It’s a gentle, beautiful song, with a great strings arrangement. There’s also this great, recent live performance of this song
– with Cave and Kylie dancing together, smiling and looking almost in love, and this lovely song of murder. And now you can recreate this murder duet with your loved one. And if your girlfriend gets annoyed that you gets to kill her – don’t worry, you can follow it with “Henry Lee”, where the girl character kills the boy…
ALBUM THREE: Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
So we’re taking quite a leap forward in time, and Cave now is almost unrecognizable. From the dark depths of “Let Love In”, and murder tales of “Murder Ballads”, Cave has since recorded two beautiful, personal album of mostly piano-based love songs (“The Boatman’s Call” and “No More Shall We Part”) – and also “Nocturama”, but it’s best to ignore that one, so I won't even bold it – before being back with this huge, bloated, full band double album, that was the one thing we’ve almost never seen from Cave before: the music was, well, almost happy!
“Abattoir Blues” is a proper rock album, full of hooks, rhythms, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable and upbeat to listen to, while “Orpheus” is a ballads album, but also lighter than his earlier stuff. Oh, and the entire thing includes a full church choir! This album proved that even without the darkness and devastation, Cave is just a brilliant songwriter who can do anything. So you’ll get the first and the last song of this collection.
There’s only one word to describe this “Abattoir” opener – rocking. Cave just takes his band, and simply rocks, like he never did before, and yes, with a choir, and it’s fucking awesome. Full of merciless guitars (usually about 3 at a time, so I had to make some charting decisions…), rousing drums, epic choir harmonies (“Get ready! Get ready!”) as Cave leads the band: “Calling every boy and girl, calling all around the world… get ready for love!”. This is Nick Cave doing rock and roll, and he’s great at it.
About 70 minutes later, the last song of this double collection, is the angelic ballad “O Children
”. A slow, remorseful ballad with a huge climax, this song was relatively unknown, until it found some unexpected mainstream success when in 2010, six years after the song’s release, it was used in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1”
. In fact, it’s the only piece of music used in the entire Harry Potter series, that wasn’t written specifically for it.
The filmmakers were looking for a song that will fit the magical atmosphere, one that was never used in any other movie/TV show ever, and Cave’s otherworldly persona was a perfect fit (and he does look a bit like a vampire, doesn’t he?). The song choice, used in a Harry/Hermione dance scene, was well received and was happily adopted within the Harry Potter fanbase (I’ve even heard some weird theories about how the lyrics are actually about Harry Potter, and “Frank and Jim” actually refer to Neville’s and Harry’s fathers… not sure about that part, personally).
Regardless of Harry Potter, this is just a beautiful song in it’s own right. Lead by acoustic guitar and a distinct drum beat, it has some beautiful piano, as several verses leads to an unforgettable, bitter-sweet, call-and-response climax with the choir: “Hey, little train, wait for me, I once was blind but now I see, I’m hanging in there, don’t you see, at this process of elimination… We’re happy, ma, we’re having fun – it’s beyond my wildest expectations”… It’s an absolute gem.
So that’s all for now! You now have 9 Nick Cave classics available to play with, which is still nothing for his huge discography, but hey, can’t do them all… and if this isn’t enough for you, there might just be another Cave related tune coming sometime soon. But that’s for some other time.
See you next time!