FLASHBACK: The Birthday Party ‘Nick the Stripper’
Do you like fire? And shirtless teenagers? Do you like pitchforks and odd costumes? Do you like Nick Cave? No? What’s wrong with you? I don’t know if I can speak to you anymore.
Today we’re honouring one of our favourite Australian acts from the ‘80s, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY. They’ve been called “one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ‘80s.” Essentially much of Australia’s alternative, punk and garage scene have a lot to thank Mr. Cave and friends for.
This track, ‘Nick the Stripper,’ is one of my personal favourites. Watch a young Nick Cave spin around a stripper pole with the word “HELL” painted on his bare chest. Conclusion: he’s pretty handsome and pretty insane too. His apocalyptic visions and enigmatic vocals, combined with the almost gothic and sinister guitar by Rowland S. Howard and punctuated by horns, create quite a sight to behold. A man dangles from a cross in this clip. Cave dances in a loincloth. Barely clothed people and animals look genuinely uncomfortable and distressed in his manic presence.
The best moments are where he makes faces at the camera, already showing the charm, swagger, and bold attitude that permeates through his later works. Do you mind if I profess my undying love for you?
Words by Hannah Story.