Review: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis on Carnage Tour

Austin, Texas

by Noah Loin

Live music is therapeutic and we’ve missed it so much. With SXSW kicking off next week in Austin, this show acted as a bit of a reintroduction to indoor live music for many. The crowd sensed the symbolism of this evening as they watched Cave take the stage with his music stand and Ellis seated nearby.

If you’re a Nick Cave fan, one thing is certain, you’re probably a diehard Nick Cave fan. That’s never been more clear than on Saturday at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin. The pair were in town for two shows for their first North American tour for acclaimed CARNAGE.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Perform in Austin

Ellis has had multiple collaborations with Cave including several TV shows and of course in his iconic band Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

In what can be described as an epic, larger-than-life performance at the premier downtown Austin venues, ACL Live, Cave and Ellis delivered a dramatic and emotional experience.

Nick Cave stands on stage
Nick Cave Concert Photos by Philip Johnson

Many concertgoers commented “it’s like going to church.” That makes sense given the Australian rocker’s upbringing by a religious father. The abstract lyrics and melodramatic vibes throughout the night were draped in a thick intensity, while the back-up singers brought a beautiful soft touch – much needed to balance out the deep rumbling presence of Cave. The ensemble added complex textures that rounded out the moody and introspective performance you would expect from Cave.

The night consisted of a full 23-song set list with two encores that included top hits like “Ghosteen”, “Into My Arms”, and “Bright Horses”. Probably the best of the duos new originals was “Carnage” which featured a swirling mix of ambient sounds with a steady drone of drums. Cave is known for his dark, thought-provoking lyrics evident in songs like “White Elephant”.

If you’re not familiar with Cave’s breadth of work, he’s influenced diverse artists and some of the biggest names in the music industry. Legends ranging from Johnny Cash, Metallica, and Snoop Dogg have all covered Cave’s music. That’s a seriously impressive feat. His work and score with Lawless and upcoming film (‘This Much I Know to be True‘) is further testament to what’s been a long and expansive musical career.

Check out more Nick Cave photos on Austin 101.

It was beautiful to see people enjoying themselves after such a long stretch of restrictions and cancelled shows. Check out the remaining tour dates and give a listen to his new tracks.


Spinning Song (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Bright Horses (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Night Raid (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
White Elephant
Ghosteen (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Lavender Fields
Waiting for You (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
I Need You (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Cosmic Dancer (T. Rex cover)
God Is in the House (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Hand of God
Shattered Ground
Galleon Ship (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Leviathan (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Balcony Man
Hollywood (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Henry Lee (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Jubilee Street (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Watching Alice (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Into My Arms (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Girl in Amber (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Encore 2:
Ghosteen Speaks (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)

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