As he moved across a thrust stage that cut a semicircle through the first several rows of the crowd at the Mann Center on Friday night, Nick Cave looked from the middle distance like an astronaut venturing into deepest space, his only tether the microphone cord that fans passed from hand to hand like a sacred object.
Over a two-hour set with his longtime band, the Bad Seeds, he only went farther out.
In recent years, Cave has adopted sobriety, and he now puts in eight-hour days at his writing desk when he's not raising twin teenage boys. But the stable lifestyle hasn't mellowed him one iota. Quite the contrary, in fact: Whatever demons he might once have kept at bay with drugs and alcohol now find their way into his songs, where music and the devil are evenly matched.