‘A rock show, a church service, a gothic cabaret, Nick Cave and long-time collaborator Warren Ellis’s Festival Theatre gig was a triumph on every level,’ proclaimed Adelaide Now. 

‘The show was, at times, poignant and sad – Cave has famously had a tragic few years, losing two sons in separate incidents – but it was more often life-affirming and, at times, very funny. And it was never not thoroughly wonderful and entertaining.’

Rave reviews have, of course, followed the tour on all its stops around the world this year, paving the way for Cave’s Christmas pilgrimage home to Australia. The trek is but the latest chapter in Cave and Ellis’s quite extraordinary collaborative journey, which began when the latter contributed to tracks on 1994’s Let Love In album and eventually saw him become Cave’s main creative foil following the departure of previous long-time collaborator, Mick Harvey. 

Outside of the established Bad Seeds creative infrastructure, Cave and Ellis have been a force of nature, writing and performing soundtracks for movies such as The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Lawless, West Of Memphis. Most recently they’ve provided music for Netflix’s Dahmer series, the wildlife documentary La Panthère Des Neiges as well as soundtracking fellow-collaborator Andrew Dominik’s controversial Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde. 

In turn Dominik’s 2022 documentary about Cave and Ellis’s relationship, This Much I Know To Be True, provided some unique insight into their creative chemistry and friendship. It was something that Ellis felt compelled to note during an interview with NME earlier this year.

“I’m there for Nick, whatever he wants,” he stated. “Our collaboration feels, to me, to be co-dependent. We each do something that the other doesn’t. I don’t know much about words. I can get in there and make a mess of music and then Nick can order me. 

“That was interesting watching the film – I realised how chaotic I am. Andrew amazingly chopped it together – this absolute chaos that seemed to be around me. And then Nick is so ordered. I’d never really thought about that, until I saw it.”

Love Live Music?

Get the latest Live Music news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

In his book Faith, Hope and Carnage, writer Sean O’Hagan collected transcripts of long conversations he and Cave had during the summer of 2020. In one exchange Cave spoke fondly and with some awe about Ellis’s intuitive participation in the creative process for their album, Carnage, notably in the context of the passing of his son, Arthur, in 2015.

“We didn’t talk about these things, as such, but the nature of the songs was so close to the bone, it was clear,” Cave recollected. “When you are making music together, conversation becomes at best an auxiliary form of communication. It becomes unnecessary, even damaging, to explain things.

“It seems strange now to say it, but I also had this idea that perhaps I could send a message to Arthur. I felt that if there was a way to do that, this was the way. An attempt to not just articulate the loss but to make contact in some kind of way, maybe in the same way as we pray, really.”

It seems though, that the two aren’t just merely outstanding collaborators, but very good mates, and with that comes a lighter side, even when the music and the themes within can get emotionally heavy.

In an audio conversation posted to Cave’s official website to promote the Bad Seeds’ B-Sides & Rarities Part II release the pair joked that Cave is ‘The Great Delegator’ in the studio, however they clearly appreciate the different strengths the other possesses, as well as their occasionally disparate beliefs about where the essence of a new song may lie. 

“I really love that sort of thing watching the way that it (a song) takes shape,” Ellis states. “I do have a soft spot for the very first thing.” 

“It’s almost a philosophy of music with you,” Cave responds. “It seems that there’s a certain kind of energy in the first takes of things that just dissipates the more you play the song. The more you learn the song, and the more well you can play the song, the less that energy of discovery remains in the song. 

“And you, in particular,” Cave continues, “very much defer to that early stuff when we’re trying to decide what is the best take of something and what is not.”

On that, Ellis agrees. 

“And there’s something also about when you don’t really know what’s going on. You’re really in the moment, there’s something fragile about it that you don’t get the more times that you do it, because then the aiming for that and when it’s happened in the original take, you’re not conscious of that at all. So it feels like a real pure delivery.”

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis 

‘Australian Carnage’ 2022 Tour

Further information available via nickcave.com

Tuesday, November 22nd
Festival Theatre, Adelaide, SA

Wednesday, November 23rd
Festival Theatre, Adelaide, SA

Friday November 25

Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges VIC SOLD OUT

Supported by Courtney Barnett

Saturday November 26

Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges VIC SOLD OUT

Supported by Courtney Barnett

Monday, November 28th
Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT SOLD OUT

Tuesday, November 29th
Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT SOLD OUT

Wednesday November 30

Palais Theatre, Melbourne VIC

Friday, December 2nd
Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC SOLD OUT

Monday, December 5th
Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA

Tuesday, December 6th
Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA

Friday, December 9th
BCEC Great Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, December 10th
GCEC, Gold Coast, QLD

Monday, December 12th
TRECC, Tamworth, NSW

   Wednesday, December 14th
Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW SOLD OUT

Friday, December 16th
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW SOLD OUT

    Saturday, December 17th

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW SOLD OUT

Sunday, December 18th

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW SOLD OUT

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine