London's All Points East festival may have only just finished its first year in existence, but the buzz surrounding its initial introduction is sure to become only the beginning. With its first weekend boasting a heading of LCD Soundsystem, The xx, and Bjork, the event came to its climax this weekend with a performance from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
With no introduction needed, Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds have been one of the most compelling acts in the world for more than 30 years. The now 60-year-old frontman has experienced a life filled with longing ecstasy and the hardest of heartbreaks, which he has brought into his music ever since. But their recent performance in Victoria Park this weekend will no doubt be one to remember for all that witnessed it.
The All Points East Presents... events were staged almost like a miniature festival in itself. With two major stages, which hosted stellar performances from Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent, and Patti Smith among others, the day was filled with a hugely diverse mix of individuals. Both young and old took to the field in order to fill themselves with all the fun and revelry this day had in store. Although by the time Nick Cave took to the stage, many of the weaker parts of the crowd had resorted to the outer limits of the boundary. Tired and locked in the clasp of alcohol, they soon began to imitate the tortured souls that the band themselves would soon be singing about.
But while their age should have caught up with him by now, the sheer exuberance of the band was clear from the very start. Even after the first few songs, the whole ensemble was throwing themselves about the stage, leading the us all through moments of frenzy and wild elation. Matched only by the level of captivation Nick Cave had over his audience. Even moments between the lyrics, where Cave preached over a silent band, the crowd fell silent. Everyone patiently waiting for him to say his next line, while those at the front begged for the frontman for even the slightest caress, hoping to somehow engage with his hypnotic power.
The band knew their place on this line-up and didn't disappoint throughout. Their set remained a best-of their material to date, and as it moved to the middle of the show, it began to feel like this was all building to a huge, earth-shattering event of some kind. That was when Cave uttered the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Kylie Minogue". The screams of ecstasy and sheer delight could be heard in almost every direction. The pint-sized pop princess then made her way onto the stage to duet the song 'Where The Wild Roses Grow', a track that has yet to appear in most Nick Cave performances despite being his most successful singles to date.
But from there, we all collectively knew that this was peak of the bell curve and the latter half of his performance would be a far more humbled affair. We were treated to a truly heartbreaking moments during the performances of three 'Skeleton Tree' cuts, the album released in the wake of his son's death. Visuals of his wife standing on Brighton Beach, near where his body was found, became a truly binding experience for us all. He kept these moments as raw as possible, defining just how different his character can be when he moves from entertainer to mourning father. His demeanour changed along with his passion, allowing us to see his vulnerability beyond his place on the stage.
To say that Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are exceptional live band would be an understatement at this point. It is a rare thing to find a group of artists that are just so in tune with themselves as well as their fans. Watching them perform almost felt like we were slowly beginning to know who they were and what they were about. It is something you hardly ever see when watching a band, but once it was over, we all felt more together than we had at the start. Nick Cave showed his humanity to us, and in return, we showed a little more kindness to each other as we made our way to the exit.