PJ Harvey at The Roundhouse
I’m suspecting quite a few people from here were here tonight. I’m also suspecting you’ve taken better photos than me. I’d love to see them.
Probably seen her well over ten times over the years but the last time was a while ago at an excellent Brixton Academy show in late 2016.
She’d obviously been around for a while before Is This Desire? was released but that was my first album purchase of hers, the one that really got me into her and remains my personal favourite. I first saw her live for the first time when she was touring that album at Shepherds Bush in 1998 and I think The Dirty Three were supporting that night. I’m glad we got a couple of songs from Desire tonight.
Angeline and The Garden were brilliant tonight. Would have loved to have had A Perfect Day Elise or The River but it’s a 25 year old album and having two from there is a still a massive bonus and so I’ll stop moaning.
The style of her gigs…actually…her gigs are often more performance than gigs and depend on which album she’s touring at the time:
Stories was pure big, glitzy, showy, rock n’roll Polly.
Let England Shake was theatrical and her peaking out from a darkened stage and often the only visible person on stage. Whilst the band though not visible were sublime. Tonight’s set up during the first part was somewhat similar.
The Hope Six shows were often big loud pomp and also maybe military marching band-esque. The songs from that album performed live came over far far better than on record. With absolutely no musical talent/ability I think it was a badly produced album compared to what I think it could have sounded like.
I’m not a huge fan of her latest album but it has improved after repeated listens in preparation for tonight’s show. I looked up the recent setlists and knew what to expect tonight…the first part was the new album and a strong and a fun second part of the set with tracks from her earlier albums but omissions from Stories… and Hope Six.
I also divided the concert into two also; went up for the first part and then hung back for the second part with a pint and with some slight obnoxious and rubbish people at the back but no hassle. Some were just wasted despite it being early.
The new album live tonight was performed slightly fuller and grander than on album. Some simple and effective lighting and a nice backdrop added well to the atmosphere. The band were as expected impressive as ever. Like with Hope Six, I found it better live than on record.
The second half which was a slight walk through her back catalogue was the expected fun. It wasn’t necessarily a Best Of but I wasn’t expecting that (even before knowing the setlist). She’s big enough to choose what she want to play.
Although I’m a big fan I wouldn’t say she’s one of my favourite artists. There’s a few albums of her’s that I’ve rarely revisited since buying as they’ve unfortunately just never clicked with me included the latest but that’s my own problem (which I’ll take to the United Nations).
She’s nonetheless a phenomenal artist. There’s not many like her. Although Is This Desire? is my favourite Let England Shake is simply a stunning album and would be on many people’s top 10 albums since the turn of the century, mine included.
First saw her on a cold night in December 1998 and have sort of grown up with her dipping in and out of her albums for the last 25 years and always try to see her when she’s touring.
It was a near two hour set and it was a lot of fun. Probably not the best PJ Harvey concert I’ve been to but after about seven years since I last saw her I’m definitely not complaining after tonight’s one.
She’s now an artist I’ve seen in the 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s. Just hoping she carrys on making music that I love and also music that sometimes frustrates and challenges me.