GIG REVIEW: NICK CAVE @ CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE, JAN 31

JUST a day after Richard Thompson s performance – there were strong echoes of his style and songwriting to be heard during Nick Cave s show at the same venue. However, while Thompson may sing of past storms, Nick Cave and his band can truly bring the dark

JUST a day after Richard Thompson's performance - there were strong echoes of his style and songwriting to be heard during Nick Cave's show at the same venue. However, while Thompson may sing of past storms, Nick Cave and his band can truly bring the dark atmospherics to life.

Drums and bass crash like thunderclouds around the rain of Cave's piano and the lightning of distorted electric violin. The sound is ferocious and the sight of his fists pounding the piano keyboard is staggering.

He introduces one track as "apocalyptic, but kind of sweet" and that's a description that serves the show as a whole. The Weeping Song, Red Right Hand and Stagger Lee could perfectly soundtrack the end of the world - while Ship Song is a grand, euphoric love song.

Although he spends most of the night at the piano - when he stands, he's a tall, sharp intimidating figure in his striped suit. He wanders the stage leering threateningly into the seated crowd - but still has time to sign an autograph for one fan.

Much has been made of the fact that Cave doesn't normally play regional concerts - he has never played an indoor show in Cambridge and only previously visited for the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1999. This was a spectacular and rare night indeed - a little history was made.

CHRIS BOLAND