Dig, Nicholas, Dig For Maximum Gig

For MTCave and his bushy moustache
“Lord, the one you love is sick.” So begins the story of Lazarus, the New Testament tale of Jesus raising a man from the dead.

According to Nick Cave, Lazarus should have had a go on his own.

“Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” is the name of Cave’s latest album. He and his group The Bad Seeds will play Thursday at B1 as Moscow continues its impressive summer line-up of good gigs.

Part-poet, part-rocker, and full of intellectual angst, Cave has the rare staying power that defines an indie god. “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” is the 14th studio album put out by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, who originally formed in 1983. The shock of glossy black hair that has marked Cave’s appearance from the get-go may have thinned a bit, overpowered by a bushy ironic moustache, but the raw passion — for experimental rhythms, intricate wordplay, engaged performance — is still there, and that’s what counts.

The title track from the latest album is a cleaner, more pop-inspired tune than Cave fans are used to. That song, like many from the album, carries its weight on inspired lyrics that verge on top quality prose.

Fans will be hoping for a taste of the old as well as the new at the Moscow show. Cave obliged at last month’s Glastonbury festival, where he charmed the audience with the songs that have defined his work — “Tupelo,” “There She Goes My Beautiful World,” “Deanna.”

He also caused quite a stir — what does this say about the times we live in? — by dedicating his set to Farrah Fawcett instead of Michael Jackson. “Cave Snubs Jackson Tribute in Favour of Fawcett,” read the headlines across London the next day.

The Aussie rocker has a pretty big Russian following, owing, most likely, to his unrivalled ability to brood. The blogosphere is alive with laments that the show will be 18+, and goths will likely be in full abundance. But that’s no reason to stay away and miss seeing a master at work.

Nick Cave plays B1 Maximum July 16 at 9 p.m. 11 Ulitsa Ordzhonikidze, 648-6777. Tickets start at 3,000 rubles.