The leadoff track to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' 2013 LP Push The Sky Away was "We No Who U R." The misplaced negative in the song's title serves as more than clever wordplay. It speaks to the lack of certainty any one person can assume in truly knowing another. As such, it would have served as an appropriate title for Cave's new, pseudo rock documentary 20,000 Days On Earth, which will play as the final installment of Indy Film Fest's Rock + Reel series on Nov. 13 at White Rabbit Cabaret.
20,000 Days On Earth turns the typical rock doc format on its head. The film follows Cave on a fictional journey through his 20,000th day. Directors, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, cowrote a script with Cave, which incorporates both fact and fiction. Cave plays himself, but it should be viewed as a performance more than a documentary in the traditional sense. The cinematography benefits from the decision to work within a script and storyboard. Its beauty puts the typical handheld point of view that we've come to expect from rock docs to shame.
In some ways, 20,000 Days On Earth is simply the latest chapter in the stage persona that Cave has created since launching his music career in the mid-1980s. It takes a special kind of narcissist to fill the role of lead singer. The film acknowledges Cave's vanity, but it points to that same trait as part of what makes him such an enigmatic and successful front man.
As an appetizer to the film, the audience will be treated to a set from Indy post-punks, The Icks. It's the first full band Musical Family Tree's Jon Rogers (who has curated the musical accompaniment to Rock + Reel) has booked for the series. The band should prove an ideal pairing to Cave's dark, brooding musical. Listen to The Icks' debut LP Little Rotten below. To purchase tickets to the show, visit Eventbrite online.