In the wake of Daniel Johnston’s death earlier this month at the age of 58, the low-fi legend and visual artist has received a tidal wave of memorials, tributes, covers, and more covers. The latest to honor Johnston is Nick Cave, the Australian singer-songwriter and longtime frontman of the Bad Seeds. Cave kicked off the North American leg of his “Conversations Tour” Friday night in Washington D.C. During that performance, Cave paid tribute to Johnston with a cover of his 1990 classic, “Devil Town”.
In fan-captured footage, Cave can be seen playing a few notes on the piano before stepping away. In a sparse, devastating a capella performance, Cave croons the word “devil” and bites off the word “town.” There are no instruments or backing tracks to help; Cave carries all the raw emotions in his voice. Check out the video below.
This intimate performance is par for the course in Nick Cave’s unusual “Conversations Tour”. He’s described the events as an “exercise in connectivity,” and intersperses playing piano with audience interactions and Q&As. Get your tickets here. Additionally, Cave and the Bad Seeds have announced a new album, Ghosteen, out October 4th. Pre-orders are available on Cave’s website.