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- PJ Harvey »
Fresh from two sold out nights at Somerset House, Polly plays Brixton. But first…
Some guy is onstage wasting our time, trying to quell our anticipation for the main event. He’s battering a guitar with his palm and singing through some vocal effecting thing. Thousands of people who struggle to find the music they love (due to the backwardsness of the media), stand and suffer. He eventually finishes. No goodbyes.
Waiting for the main event is the best bit. Expectation swells around the room like clouds of starving sparrows. The days and weeks of staring at the ticket on the pin board or resting on a sideboard, have lead up to this. Screams for lights dipping. Wide eyes. Bliss.
…minutes later and the centre-piece bawls out: ‘Who The Fuck?’, it puts a fag burn in the ears of those who got into Polly late (‘Stories…’). In the other ear the breeze of the bass pulses. Hanging with Josh Homme in the Dessert has rubbed off, but probably not as much as listening to Daisy Chainsaw, for one odd moment at least. The evidence is deceptive. Josh probably stole many a good idea from the seminal ‘Rid of Me’, wonderful ‘Dry’ and the revered ‘To Bring You My Love’ (three albums every discerning music lover should already own, for the sake of completeness if nothing else).
I smile. People dance. My legs are moving. Then it breaks down to gentle tambourines and lines about flowers. O’ Polly, stop it, you stole my heart years ago and you’ve been picking its scabs for the past few weeks with your blackened blues scrubbed with an oily rag of an album (‘Uh Hur Her’). As Polly begins to writhe in her cowboy boots you can hear sensible suit wearing grown men, groan. This isn’t puppy love.
…more minutes, more flashbacks splintering through the ages of classic Pj in varying bruised shades; purples, twilights, Turkish delight… these are bruises that often get buried with make-up, dignity and hope, like the majestic ‘You Come Through’. Early stuff is received with blanks looks by those who discover music via the Mercury Music prize, but those looks are mixed with confused admiration, despite these questionable live choices probably sounding like a wall of artsy throbbing noise to the uninitiated.
Sure, contextually, people on the tube home can argue tonight it could have been better at the Barbican or Royal Festival Hall, but not a single rock chord would have sat right outside of this sweaty academy and even without ‘Rid of Me’ or ‘Angelene’ or ‘Perfect Day Elise’ tonight’s a perfect set and what live shows are all about. Bring on the Autumn tour…
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