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Concert Reviews, Music

Review: Nick Cave @ Convocation Hall

By: Curtis Sindrey –

Nick Cave. (Photo: Gosha Rubchinskiy)

Last night, Nick Cave treated both long-time and new fans alike to a unique Q&A session and performance at Convocation Hall in Toronto where the near capacity crowd had the opportunity to ask the iconic rock singer just about anything, including his relationship with PJ Harvey, the current state of music, and the death of his 15-year-old son, Arthur.

Over the course of the nearly two-hour long evening, Cave, accompanied by nothing but a baby grand piano, weaved through a 14-song setlist that spanned through Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ discography, along with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche”, and Jimmy Webb’s “Where’s the Playground Susie”.

Cave was very warm and patient with the mostly older crowd as they gave long stream of consciousness before asking their question. He took his time to gather his thoughts before responding when several times he was hit with emotionally heavy stories about people losing loved ones, or getting dumped, and he never failed to give advice or crack a joke when the situation demanded it.

When ask what his current self vs. his 23-year-old self thinks about Iggy Pop, his 23-year-old self said that he was a huge idol to him, and became an inspiration for his performance style of complete abandon and being adversarial with the audience. While now, he feels like he’s a “weird experiment”, and that he’s still incredibly inspiring because he “doesn’t give a fuck” and that he treats “old age with contempt.”

Upon reflecting on his relationship with PJ Harvey in the ‘90s, from the time they began dating to when she dumped him over the phone, he said, “it hit me very hard because I thought I was sailing along, but it ended in an instant.” He continued, “I wrote good songs that circled that event and it helped me. I’m happy it happened [because] songs stay around forever, while relationships don’t last very long.”

On the current state of music, Cave admitted that he isn’t “musically adventurous”, and also praised singer-songwriter Bill Callahan for being “one of the great lyric writers of his or any generation.” He noted that while he enjoys collaborating, he doesn’t do them for the sake of it. “I do it because the song dictates it,” he said.

On his close friendship with the late Michael Hutchence, he remarked that they were “poles apart musically”, but were also “bonded by mutual envy.” He elaborated that he “envied his success, and he envied my credibility.”

Touching on the death of his son, Arthur, Cave said that he doesn’t have the authority of whether death is the end or not. “My intuitions are built within a sense of loss,” he said. “I have much stronger intuitions about life beyond ourselves after my son died, and it’s a matter of survival as a grieving father to hold onto these ideas that something else is going on.”

When asked about the current state of American politics, Cave said he “withdrew from politics the last few years, and withdrew from the argument after Trump.” And while he said he as written more songs under Trump than Obama, he notes that he’s always grabbing for the “little bits of hope.”

After being asked for relationship advice from a teenaged attendee, Cave said, “initially love isn’t a decision, it just happens. There is suffering in love, but it’s worth it. Young people devalue the concept of being human because of what’s happening in the world, but there’s so much beauty in the world.”

Whether you came to this event to hear his music, to get insight into a favourite song, to get love advice, or to perhaps gain the courage to let a loved one go, Nick Cave provided all of that and more in what was an evening to remember.


  1. God Is in the House (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  2. The Weeping Song (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  3. Dead Joe (The Birthday Party song) (a capella snippet)
  4. West Country Girl (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  5. Far From Me (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  6. Brompton Oratory (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  7. Into My Arms (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  8. The Mercy Seat (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  9. Avalanche (Leonard Cohen cover)
  10. Jubilee Street (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  11. Where’s the Playground Susie? (Jimmy Webb cover)
  12. Palaces of Montezuma (Grinderman song)
  13. Girl in Amber (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)
  14. Skeleton Tree (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song)


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