Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave (5 stars)

This article is from 2019

Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave

Perfectly balanced tribute to the music of Nick Cave

Camille O'Sullivan has long peppered her sets with covers of Nick Cave tunes, but here, she dedicates an entire 75-minute show to him, singing nothing but the songs of Cave and the Bad Seeds. The lighting is moody and atmospheric, helping O'Sullivan to channel Cave's energy as she struts on stage dressed in a black cape and sparkly silver heels, before performing a pared-back version of 'God is in the House'. Hunkered down on her knees, sipping from a glass of red wine, she's like a female version of Cave – apart from the hints of her Irish lilt coming through as she belts out the tune with gusto.

The set is balanced perfectly between stripped back, contemplative Cave songs, and rollicking numbers where she demonstrates how perfectly in-tune she is with her backing band. During the quieter numbers, such as a perfect version of 'Into My Arms', the audience are reverent and so quiet that you can hear O'Sullivan tapping her heels. She commands the stage during these songs, just as she does in the more upbeat segments, when she kicks and struts, full of wild energy and growling Cave's lyrics in her husky voice.

'I've loved his work and the Bad Seeds for a very long time,' O'Sullivan tells the audience while explaining her decision to focus only on the music of one artist. 'His lyrics are king and he goes to the darkest parts of the heart but also the most spiritual.' She explores those depths by adding her own unique spin to his songs, bringing a lot of comedy to the classic murder ballad 'Stagger Lee', and showing us she can do soft and gentle as well as loud and raucous, with an ethereal version of 'Sad Waters'. Even if you're not a fan of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, O'Sullivan's stage presence is incredible, and this performance unmissable.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 9.15pm, £17.50–£22.

Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave

  • 5 stars

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