John Cale, Bauhaus, Guillemots, Lisa Gerrard, Mark Lanegan
Steve Ellis 11/10/2008
John Cale Presents: LIFE ALONG THE BORDERLINE: A TRIBUTE TO NICO
Nico, the ravaged beauty of The Velvet Uderground has been dead now for 20 years. This hastily arranged and little advertised tribute was somewhat fitting. If you wanted to know about it, you knew about it.
The night opened with John Cale's take on Frozen Warnings. To say it was dramatic and haunting would be a cliché but an accurate one. However, Nico songs that aren't dramatic and haunting are few and far between.
Dressed like a gin-shop dandy, Cale led the acts through melancholy songs of downbeat beauty. Bauhaus' Pete Murphy entered the stage, throwing petals over his temporary band mates. His take on Mutterlein was compelling, even if his pantomime goth routine was a little hackneyed.
Guillemots' heavily over played My Heart is Empty was beautiful in parts but somehow their performance missed the point. The first show stealer of the evening was Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. Her rendition of The Falconer left the audience silent before the applause. Her faux Germanic accent wobbled slightly but her performance did not.
The other big first half highlight was devil voiced Mark Lanegan. Roses in the Snow could've been written just for him. Unfortunately the segment was closed on the anti-climax of James Dean Bradfield who turned Janitor of Lunacy into a ManicsBside.
Part two was christened by another amazing Gerrard performance. This time No One is There got the grand treatment. Lanegan again soared with Win A Few, while Murphy reigned himself in a bit with Abschied.
Cale started to take more of a front seat in the second half, singing three numbers. It has to be questioned why none of the Nico voiced Velvet Underground songs were played.
The finale was a roughly worked out version of Desert Shore, by almost all the vocalists. If Nico could ever be transferred to an end of pier audience, then this was how. Murphy aped around and tried to steal the show from the rest, but he came across as more of an Artful Dodger to Cale's Fagin.
The rumour that Lou Reed would appear for an encore was unfounded as there was no encore. However at the climax there were few people left grounded and even fewer whose hearts weren't in their mouths.
John Cale - Frozen Warnings
Pete Murphy - Mutterlein
Guillemots - My Heart Is Empty
Lisa Gerrard - The Falconer
Eleanor Friedberger - Evening Of Light
Liz Green - Ari's Song
Mark Linkous -You Forgot To Answer
Mark Lanegan - Roses In The Snow
James Dean Bradfield - Janitor Of Lunacy
Lisa Gerrard - No One Is There
Pete Murphy - Abschied
Mark Linkous - Afraid
Guillemots - My Only Child
John Cale - Sixty/Forty
Mark Lanegan - Win A Few
Eleanor Friedberger - Fearfully In Danger
John Cale - Facing The Wind
John Cale - All That Is My Own
Ensemble - Desertshore