Grinderman w/ Shilpa Ray – Cannery Ballroom – November 19th, 2010

A full moon greeted Grinderman as they arrived into town. Or maybe Nick Cave and co. had brought it with them, because after the night, that would have made perfect sense. An interesting crowd showed up for the show. Between the mix of the weird kids you’d never talk to in high school to the girls covered in tattoos with their douche bag boyfriends. Lots of beards too.

The lights went down at 9:00 pm and opener Shilpa Ray stepped on stage. I didn’t know what to expect from her when she sat down in front of her organ. No band followed behind her so it soon became clear that she was doing this one on her own. She sat down at the organ, which moved as she played it, and started singing. She was fantastic. Her hypnotic wail reminded me of PJ Harvey and her organ reminded me of a stripped down version of BRMC (think Howl). She kept the audience captivated. Seriously, it was hard to look away and I can honestly say that I really wanted her to play more songs. She’s probably the best opener I’ve seen all year. She said that she would be in the crowd later, getting wasted and watching the Nick Cave tear it up for the fourth time. “The show is fucking awesome,” she said. And damn did she make a great call.

Warren Ellis came out with the band around 10 and started fiddling around with their instruments. It wasn’t until Nick stepped on stage did the steady, menacing bass line kick in with the sproadic drum beats and guitar distortion as the band launched into “Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man.” “I was Mickey Mouse, he was the Big Bad Wolf” Cave howls into the building instrumentation. And so, the show began with a bang.

The show was perfectly paced which was good, because it seemed like Cave was always on top of his game. He was running around the stage, shouting in people’s faces and even tossing Warren Ellis around during a song or two. Despite the fact that Cave had just picked up playing guitar for the band itself, he’s definitely got the chops to play, often flailing or doing kicks while playing. Warren Ellis is also another site to see. He had a ratter beard than anyone else in the crowd and looked pretty fucking creepy at points. But hey kids, rock n’ roll isn’t always pretty. He commanded instruments like the guitar, violin and percussion all through out the show while providing backing vocals to the band. The bassist and the drummer both just kind of hang back. Watching the band live seems to show who the real backbone of the band is: Cave and Ellis.

The song choice throughout the night was pretty damn good. They played their entire new album and played through the best parts of their debut. Songs like “Heathen Child” sounds even more like hellfire live as Cave runs through the crowds, singing about his “wild child.”  Even songs like “Man in the Moon”, an possible ode to Cave’s father, sound even more heavier with a full backing band (and despite the drunken idiot behind me who almost ruined it for me. Shut the fuck up, dork. You can’t sing for shit). While there really was never a dull moment in the set, the highlights of the night for me were “No Pussy Blues” and “Love Bomb”. On “No Pussy Blues”, Cave screwed up the words a bit, but managed to make up a few new lines to keep the flow going. He’s a frontman who soldiers on when little things like that happen instead of getting stuck up or pulling an Axl Rose and having a teletron on the side of the stage. The bass line was grooving and the distortion during the chorus killed my eardrums, but it was worth it as Cave and co powered through a song about not getting any. “Love Bomb” was something else. Saved for the second to last song, the wicked-twangy guitar sound meshed well with the thumping bass line/ bass drum. Nick Cave screamed, “I was so thin and thick” throughout the song and acted not only like a man about to be dragged to hell, but like a man who was dragging us to hell with him.

The show wrapped up at around 11:30 PM, after the band closed with an extended, heavier version of the song named after the band “Grinderman.” The moonlight was still heavy and it was still cold, but now my ears were ringing like no other. I knew my ears were going to be in bad shape after “No Pussy Blues” but honestly, for the show I just saw, it was completely worth it. Not a lot of bands can successfully put on a great show with hardly dull moments, even bands with great music. I can safely say that Grinderman is an exception to this rule. After decades of flipping people on their heads, Nick Cave is still doing what he does best: howling at the moon.


  1. Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man
  2. Worm Tamer
  3. Get it on
  4. Heathen Child
  5. Evil!
  6. When My Baby Comes
  7. What I Know
  8. Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)
  9. Kitchenette
  10. No Pussy Blues
  11. Bellringer Blues
  12. Palaces of Montezuma
  13. When My Love Comes Down
  14. Man in the Moon
  15. Love Bomb
  16. Grinderman

Good Time Girl – Shilpa Ray 

Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man – Grinderman 

No Pussy Blues- 

Places of Montzeuma-

3 Responses to “Grinderman w/ Shilpa Ray – Cannery Ballroom – November 19th, 2010”
  1. crankypants says:

    I was at this show too, it was fucking unreal. I am lukewarm about the new album but they really retooled the songs for the live show amazingly. I listened to the CD in the car today, and the song Kitchenette was so dull compared to the show–possibly because I was about a foot or 2 away from him when he grabbed the kid’s head in front of me and was screaming “I’M JUST TRYING TO RELAX!!” in his face for what seemed like 5 minutes. my pics if you are interested:

    • Jordan Canio says:

      nice pictures dude. I’m in the process of getting a camera, so everything I have now are real shit phone pictures. And yeah, Cave was going off! One of the best shows I’ve seen this year, for sure.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] no idea who Shilpa Ray was. All I knew before the night I saw her open for Grinderman was, well, she was opening for Grinderman. Nick Cave may be getting old, but he isn’t losing his hearing. Shilpa was awesome. It was […]

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