Two covers of Disco 2000 from Nick Cave were not quite born within an hour of each other, but they were significant, different and exciting. Where one featured as a tender and soft ballad to promote Bad Cover Version, the other, later version, was a fine pub rock rendition. Taking that shaky and almost improvisational form of that smoky, beer-clad atmosphere gives Disco 2000 (Pub Rock Version) a straight shot at being a fine piece of writhing Bad Seeds quality. Pulp is always going to have the finest rendition of Disco 2000 around, but where that song can go and how it can be delivered in different genres and styles is wonderful. Jarvis Cocker’s wonderful splash of Sheffield culture and ode to Deborah Bone is a rocket of a track, and so too is Cave’s rendition.
Slotting in that underlying Webber-crafted guitar structure in as a heavier, dirtier line for Cave to lead on from is a wonderful change. One of many intense and desperately needed changes in pushing the highs of Disco 2000 into the murky lows of half-finished pints. Hearing the reverb, the sick little riffs and the percussion, the minor switch in how Cave introduces the song with an “oh yeah” that Cocker saves for later in his version, it all comes together with lush spirit. Different Class is a monumental release, the Deluxe Edition which this track features on is a delightful piece. Cave flies through octaves and pitches like there is nothing left for him to prove, and enlisting legend and Olivier-winning musician Richard Hawley is a winning bet.
Hawley featuring on this classic track makes the most sense of all following on from his We Love Life sessions and subsequent brilliance through his solo career. Martin Slattery deserves major credit for his integral synthesizer work here, the buoyant and pint-filled charms of Andy Cook on drums bring it all together. Disco 2000 is a surreal and inviting track, a deeply personal piece from Cocker that can apply to just about anyone who has found themselves necking pints in the corner of some dingy nightclub. Where Cocker’s reminiscent beauty is the core to Disco 2000, the real sleekness and edge of this Cave and Hawley version is their interplay and stark, smoky appeal. Hawley and Cave, two legends, coming together for a track that defined an era and still defines new experiences, is an incredible piece.
Another cover of Disco 2000 and it would appear Cave is fond of that fountain down the road. His covers of a great track give alternative versions that are intimate with the source but delicate in practice. A pub rock version that features Longpigs and Pulp alumni Hawley rattling away with an unforgettable piece of instrumental work as Cave strikes through with a powerful voice is a beautiful experience. Extraordinary work was to be expected, but the homeliness, the intimacy that Disco 2000 (Pub Rock Version) transfers here is a stunning experience. One that clamours for a live interpretation, but it is unlikely Cave, Hawley and company are getting together for this. A shame, because it marks one of the best cover versions of a classic track out there.