Nick Cave's 'Idiot Prayer' film promises to shed new light on his back catalog and soothe in troubled times
It's been exactly five years since the tragic death of Nick Cave's teenage son
Once labeled the 'Prince of Darkness' by the media, 62-year-old artist Nick Cave has cast a long and imposing shadow over the rock music industry with his dark, brooding persona and visceral, electrifying brand of tunes. From his early days as a brash and menacing young Aussie upstart with The Birthday Party, and later on, as a more experimental yet still mesmerizing frontman with the Bad Seeds and Grinderman, Nick Cave remains a therapeutic preacher and a celebrated rock god to millions of converts over the years. And now he's returned to grace us with yet another emotive concert film, 'Idiot Prayer', which couldn't have been timed any better, considering millions around the world have been stuck in a dark and gloomy stupor ever since Covid-19 left us troubed.
Nick Cave doesn't just sing about death, heartbreak, and inner conflict, he's lived through it too. It's been exactly five years to the day since he lost his teenage son, Arthur, who tragically died after falling from a cliff on 14 July 2015, aged just 15 years old. After that gut-wrenching loss, the musician explored his grief in the concert film 'One More Time With Feeling' and the albums 'Skeleton Tree' (2016) and Ghosteen (2019). A previous documentary, '20,000 Days on Earth' (2014), had served as the first of a trifecta of films about the musician, and now his latest concert film, 'Idiot Prayer', looks set to complete the trilogy on July 23.
However, as with all Nick Cave endeavors, there remains a tangible thread of intimacy and introspection with his latest musical offering. Filmed in the stark and empty West Hall of the Alexandra Palace during the coronavirus pandemic, Nick Cave played over 20 songs from his vast back catalog while seated alone at his piano. The somber and stripped-down set will be seen on the livestream concert on July 23 which will run for approximately one and a half hours.
Speaking about this retrospective look at his songs, Nick Cave remarked, "'Idiot Prayer' evolved from my ‘Conversations With...’ events, performed over the last year or so. I loved playing deconstructed versions of my songs at these shows, distilling them to their essential forms — with an emphasis on the delivery of the words. I felt I was rediscovering the songs all over again, and started to think about going into a studio and recording these reimagined versions at some stage — whenever I could find the time."
After the world recently ground to a halt thanks to the Covid-19 crisis, Nick Cave felt the need to fill this eerie silence with music. He recounts, "I began to think about the idea of not only recording the songs, but also filming them — and so we started to assemble a small team, including the great cinematographer Robbie Ryan, sound man Dom Monks, and editor Nick Emerson, with the intention to film as soon as it became feasible to get back to business in some way."
The result of this team's efforts can be seen in 'Idiot Prayer' which will air as a live-streamed concert on July 23, after which it will not be made available online. Furthermore, viewers will not be able to rewind, fast-forward or pause the show, so it remains very much a live music experience. Tickets can be purchased at Nick Cave's official site or by clicking here and optimal timings for the concert film are given below:
Australia & Asia: 8 pm AEST
UK & Europe: 8pm BST / 9pm CEST
North & South America: 7pm PDT / 10pm EDT
As the great man himself revealed, the luminous and heartfelt ‘Idiot Prayer’ is "a prayer into the void - alone at Alexandra Palace. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it." Best known as the elder statesman of the moody and contemplative rock ballad, Nick Cave has always offered us solace and redemption through his incredible music and sublime baritone, and this new concert livestream looks set to provide a fitting soundtrack and soothing balm for the world's current state of mind.