Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack

[B]STEVEN WELLS[/B] claims round the office that he's written the first honest review of [a]Nick Cave[/a]. But then he has no brain...

True story: a certain pop star absolutely loved anal sex but hated Brussels sprouts. His wife, alas, could munch sprouts 'til the cows came home but was determined to keep her rectum unplumbed. So she made him a deal - she'd do the deed but only if the pop star ate a pint of sprouts. To this day those sprouts remain unmunched.

Thing is, there's a chemical in sprouts that tastes like a cross between sewage and vomit. Some people can taste the chemical, others can't. What's all this got to do with Nick Cave? Just about everything. There is no doubt that Cavey baby is a stone-cold, bona fide, platinum-plated genius. Everybody says so. A dadrock mag recently voted him one of the ten greatest singers of all time. And there's a buzz here tonight. We sit surrounded by New York's Transylvanian aristocracy, cooler than a polar bear's scrotal sac in their frightening white-face make-up and fancy, black gunfighter togs. Brittle, frigid, chilled-to-fuck, undead lemon-suckers all. But when Nick ambles onstage they whoop and holler like trailer trash on The Jerry Springer Show, like teenyboppers at a Boyzone show, like a snakebite-sodden hen party at the Newcastle premiere of The Full Monty. Dracula unbound!

Nick smiles. And it's a wry smile. "They say that if you can take this town you can take anywhere," he quips. And the Transylvanians slap their skinny thighs and shriek, "Yes! Take us!" He looks awesome. Like a vampire ape. And The Seeds - cor! They slouch on behind him, turn their backs on the audience and smoke tabs - the very essence of dead cool couldn'tgiveaflying-fuckability. The air fizzes with sexual tension. The audience have already been foreplayed to a frigging frazzle. And I too - a doubter, a cynic, an apostate, a self-confessed former blasphemer - am moist and ready. Take me, Nick! Let's climb that mountain! Put me up where I belong! Nick smirks. Slowly, ever so slowly, he reaches out and strokes the microphone stand. Swoon! The band start up. The crowd scream. Nick opens his mouth. Oh God! Here it comes! OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod! Any second now! Wait for it! Here it comes! Yes! Here it is! NICK SINGS!!!!!!!!! And out comes this flat, lifeless, croaking grunt reminiscent of a frog with terminal throat cancer.

And I'm sorry - I know it's my fault. Some kind of pathetic genetic deformity that stops me from hearing a sound so sublime, sweet and sensual that it makes the very angels weep with envy. Alas, whilst all around him writhe in unbounded ecstasy, all this poor wretch can do is sit and cringe as Nick tries to reach note after note after note. And fails. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. The key words here are 'painfully' and 'flat'. It's like listening to that bloke from Embrace. Only gothier. To these obviously inadequate ears, King Nick can't sing. Not just 'for toffee', but AT ALL. His voice is, in short, the aural equivalent of Brussels sprouts. And if you disagree, if you're one of the lucky ones who can't taste the sewage and the vomit, then, please God, give thanks. You lucky, lucky bastards!

The rest of the set? Well Nick could have given us note-perfect renditions of Lee Marvin's 'Wand'rin' Star', Rex Harrison's 'Talk To The Animals' or the last Embrace B-side. But he didn't. No Kylie either. Pity.
8 / 10

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