Stranger than Kindness (1987, Hamburg GE)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Knopf’s Music Hall, Hamburg, Germany August 15th, 1987
Tx to thesoulbreath

The above performance of ‘Stranger than Kindness’ was filmed at Knopf’s Music Hall, Hamburg, GE, 15 August 1987. Blixa, his hair a golden halo, sits strumming intently on his open-tuned guitar as Nick, marble-pale and restless in the throes of his heroin addiction, keeps turning around to look at him.  In a word, magnificent.  The public have always been enthralled by the spectacle of decadence and doomed celebrity: drug abuse, sexual transgression, and the damaged, terrible beauty of the players.  In this case it is Lane, Bargeld, and Cave whose intermingled star-cursed destinies take on the elements of a real-life gothic romance.  From this perspective, ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ becomes their personal soundtrack, beautifully realized in Anita Lane’s despairing poetics and Blixa Bargeld’s haunting score.  The vessel they create is a perfect container for Nick Cave’s hollow-voiced and equally haunting delivery.  Epic.

About the Kings of Independence tour and the Knopf venue:

15 August 1987 The ‘Kings of Independence’ tour only went for two gigs, in Hamburg and Bonn. The Hamburg show resulted in riots. The venue was oversold by about 1,000 tickets. The fans outside decided to burn down the Knopf Music Hall in revenge. Backstage conditions were poor – no room for the bands, smoke was pouring in from the fires outside, everyone was on drugs, drunk, and generally out of their minds. Mayhem continued at Bonn, the next day, when most of the band were still drunk/stoned. The tour ended right there. Mick Harvey gives a pretty interesting account in Ian Johnston’s Bad Seed (pp 220-221).

Line up: Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Kid Congo Powers, Roland Wolf, Thomas Wydler

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Saint Huck (Live, HQ) 
Knopf’s Music Hall, Hamburg, Germany August 15th, 1987

Hey Joe
Saint Huck  (recorded on Kings of Independence film)
Jack’s Shadow
Your Funeral…My Trial
Stranger Than Kindness  (recorded on Kings of Independence film)
Sad Waters
I’m Gonna Kill That Woman
From Her To Eternity
Let It Be Me (one of two known performances of the classic love song)
Long Time Man
The Singer

– Studio K7- K7001 (GE,1987) VHS-PAL
– Music Video Distributors (US,Oct-94) VHS-NTSC


6 thoughts on “Stranger than Kindness (1987, Hamburg GE)

  1. This video is actually what made me a Swans fan, haha. The Bad Seeds performance is nice, I found the Crime and the City Solution one sort of boring. . .then I got to the Swans part and both bands were destroyed (in my opinion). Considering my uh, fixation since then, I’m glad to have seen it! Though that’s not to say I don’t listen anymore. . .shit, not at all. haha.

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