Straight To You: Triple J’s Tribute To Nick Cave, Friday November 11 - The Forum Theatre.
It wouldn't be fair to call Straight To You a tribute show. While Nick Cave is still alive and well, it'd be more apt to dub Straight To You a 'Celebration of Life'. Cave's influence is far-reaching enough that a variety of Australian artists, spanning across genres, came together under the guidance of Cameron Bruce for a Friday night that will easily be etched in the memory of everyone in attendance. But rather than have each musician play Cave's songs note for note. Bruce allowed for a healthy amount of artistic leeway, giving each of them the opportunity to take Cave's songs in whatever direction they saw fit.
It was Cave's brand of sexy swagger which was highlighted first. Kram took to the drum kit for a lean but muscular version of Red Right Hand, enticing the crowd with his bar-room drawl. Abbe May soon took the stage to knock out the Bad Seeds classic Lie Down Here, which on this occasion was full of piss, vinegar and gusto.
As the evening progressed, it was clear that the audience were going to be kept on their toes. Though the event was heavily choreographed, what song, artists or artistic direction came next was anyone's guess. It was this kind of spontaneity which fought the heavily produced nature of the show.
Dan Sultan stomped his way through a rollicking take on Deanna and Johnny Mackay, after an impromptu Happy Birthday serenade from the crowd shred his guitar like a man possessed throughout Nick The Stripper, making life difficult for the stagehands. Yet it was Urthboy's take on Old Children which really stood out. The way in which he fused Cave's music into different genres only speaks to Cave's legacy. Urthboy's version could have been a modern dance classic.
By the end of the evening, the threads of choreography became very thin, and it was impossible to keep every musician off the stage. Smiles grew wider, and as every artist took the stage for soulful and heart-warming versions of Jack The Ripper (Complete with the men on back-up vocals providing a swampy pageantry) and Papa Won't Leave You, Henry which swept through the crowd without restraint.
It was fitting that evening ended the way it did. If there was ever an artist that operated free of restraint, it has been and likely always will be Nick Cave.
BY JOSH KLOKE
LOVED: The creative freedom and collaboration.
HATED: An unfulfilled dream of Nick Cave himself joining the performers on stage.
DRANK: Slowly and surely.