As part of the Auckland Arts Festival, Camille O’Sullivan brought her collection of reimagined Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds songs to the Civic Theatre. Known internationally for her interpretations of Bowie and Radiohead tracks and her melancholic pin-up style, her latest performance Cave puts a unique sultry spin on the dark brooding songs that have made Nick Cave an arena selling artist over the past 30 years.
In a much more intimate venue than you could ever see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds these days, Camille O’Sullivan captures every seat in the theatre with her powerfully intense voice tearing through classics from ‘The Ship Song’ to ‘Red Right Hand’ to Cave’s most recent ‘Skeleton Tree’ she takes the songs and elevates them to make them her own with her haunting vocals. Anybody who has seen her perform songs by the likes of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen before will know that these aren’t the type of covers you’d hear at your local pub, they’re something else entirely.
From the moment Camille takes the stage she flutters between the light and the dark much like Cave’s own career, from heart touching ballads like ‘Into My Arms’ to rockier takes on ‘Stagger Lee’ the band follows with ease. Backed by an international band from across the UK, Ireland and even Auckland they play faithfully to the Bad Seeds’ original recordings, never missing a note or a beat, they passionately play through a number of Cave’s back catalogue but also rely on his latest albums, notably the title track from his latest to open up the encore.
Overall Camille O’Sullivan’s ‘Cave’ at the Civic was always going to be a smash, after performing Nick Cave songs around the world in one shape or another for the past 10 years and with the Bad Seeds’ broad appeal from original fans to their recent resurgence with two popular releases, uncommon for a band sixteen albums deep. Camille O’Sullivan does a stunning job recreating their music for a theatre setting with a show that is sure to appeal to die-hard Cave fans and casual theatre go-ers alike.
Reviewed by Lindsey Catherine.