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Australian Rocker Nick Cave’s Enduring Fascination with Greece

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Nick Cave performing in Athens, Greece in 2011. The rocker has made frequent appearances in the Greek capital. Credit: Victoriagr/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Nick Cave has performed countless live shows with his long time band, The Bad Seeds, to his legions of fans in Greece’s capital, Athens.

Cave’s enduring fascination with Greece started almost 40 years ago when, as a 25-year-old up-and-coming rock musician, Cave performed live with his short-lived post-punk band The Birthday Party for the first time in Athens.

Rock fans in attendance were impressed by the young rocker’s electric performance and his incredible energy onstage. Little did they know, a rock love affair had just begun.

In the course of the next 40 years, Cave’s fan base would expand to international proportions. There are few other rock groups whose fans have exhibited similar dedication to their respective idols over the years in Greece.

Through the rocker’s many artistic transformations, his Greek fans have matured and aged along with him, and Cave has even gained a new crop of young fans in the country, who look forward to his frequent concerts in Athens.

Far from commercial and superficial, Cave’s connection to Athens has an artistic streak too.

Nick Cave wrote a song inspired by Athens, Greece

While in Athens for a concert in 2011, he witnessed the massive demonstrations during the height of the financial crisis in Athens and eventually wrote the song “Lightning Bolts” about the experience.

“I was in Athens during my tour with my band Grinderman and I was watching Greek protesters on the street,” he told Ethnos newspaper.

“I wrote ‘Lightning Bolts’ for the kids, and our inability to protect them from the world we created for them,” he continued. The song was released two years later on the album “Push The Sky Away.”

Among Cave’s most memorable performances in Athens was his first concert with the Birthday Party in September 1982 at Sporting, followed by appearances with The Bad Seeds on November 20, 1984 at the Hima Club.

He returned to the city on September 5, 1987 at Club 22, rocked out on May 3, 1989 at the legendary Rodon Club, and came back a year later on June 16, 1990 at the Lycabetus Theatre. He has put on live shows in Athens frequently throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.

During his 2011 performance at the Lycabetus Theatre, Cave was accompanied by one of the most accomplished lyra players in the world, Greek musician Psarantonis.

Nick Cave’s love affair with his Greek audience is one of the most enduring and fascinating stories in the local rock and roll landscape, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s no wonder that some high profile fans have been suggesting that the Australian rocker be officially awarded the proverbial keys to the city of Athens.

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