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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:13 am 
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http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/progr ... aptivating

PJ Harvey: searing, soothing, always captivating
From Radio NZ National Music

Polly Harvey and her nine-piece band delivered a spellbinding performance at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre last night. Tony Stamp reports back.

Nine-piece band PJ Harvey marched onto the Logan Campbell stage to the beat of a military-style snare drum, and proceeded to deliver 90 minutes of highly-choreographed rock 'n' roll theatre, heavily focused on material from the most recent album The Hope 6 Demolition Project. Topics like war and poverty loomed large over proceedings, providing an incendiary charge to an already thrilling performance.

The band, all garbed in black, played a variety of percussion and brass, with former Bad Seed Mick Harvey handling bass and keyboard duties. At one point Terry Edwards played 2 saxophones at once, and the band's leader retreated from centre stage to allow him to vamp all over the finale of 'Dollar Dollar'. It’s not often a brass section receives rapturous applause at a rock gig, but it happened repeatedly last night.

Polly 'PJ' Harvey herself was resplendent in leather mini and feather headdress, sans guitar for the whole show, favouring her new instrument of choice, the saxophone. She danced, at times emulating Elvis Presley, she drew the crowd in with a whisper then pinned them back with a howl. Her voice is as fine as it’s ever been, soaring in the upper register for most of the set’s beginning, then later dropping down to a deep moan, reminding us that, 'oh yeah, she can do that, too'.

This incarnation of Polly Jean Harvey operates like a conductor, and her band - and we the audience - were in her thrall during the raucous wall of brass that formed the backbone of ‘The Wheel’, and the delicacy of the stately, sombre ‘To Talk To You’. Old favourites ‘50ft Queenie’, ‘Down By The Water’, and ‘To Bring You My Love’ made welcome appearances near the end of the set, as vital tonight as they were 20 years ago, reinvigorated by the new band.

Complaints about the venue were many – the queues to the bar were ridiculously long, and The Logan Campbell Centre has a lot of unfortunately-placed concrete columns - but the performance was so commanding, so finely-wrought, that any negatives were quickly put aside, and the crowd that flocked out onto the streets of Greenlane was nothing short of elated.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:56 am 
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https://www.13thfloor.co.nz/?p=79207

PJ Harvey – Logan Campbell Centre January 24, 2017
By The 13th Floor - January 25, 20174772


Like Nick Cave before her, PJ Harvey eschewed an opening act, with her and her very impressive 9-piece band carrying the full load. And the end of the night it was clear…PJ Harvey is one a very few artists will to challenge herself and her audience, in the process making the best music of her career.

From the very beginning, as Harvey and her band marched on stage to the sound of a snare drum, it was clear that this show was going to be something more than a rock concert. Even though there were no sets or costume changes, this felt more like a trip to the theatre than to a concert.

These days Harvey’s albums are based around big ideas, addressing big issues such as war, poverty, housing, greed…and her 2016 album, The Hope Six Demolition Project is no exception.

In anyone else’s hands, songs about urban gentrification with titles like The Ministry Of Social Affairs and The Community Of Hope would send most music fans packing, but as Harvey proved last night, it is possible to make powerful, emotive music that actually addresses subject matter more substantive that the usual silly love songs that so often clog the airwaves.

But she couldn’t have done it alone.

Her band made some of the finest music I have heard at a concert hall since, well, last week’s Nick Cave show.

Speaking of Nick Cave, former Bad Seed Mick Harvey was there playing bass and keyboards. The rest of the band consisted of two drummers, Kenrick Rowe and Jean-Marc Butty, two horn players, Terry Edwards and Enrico Gabrielli and filled out by a bevy of multi-instrumentalists, most of whom switched between guitar and keyboards…James Johnston, Alessando Stefana, Alain Johannes and John Parish.

I know there were many fans who were disappointed that PJ avoided much of her back catalogue to concentrate on songs from her past two or three albums, but for me, the new material was the most satisfying.

Harvey was completely immersed in her performance, making dramatic motions with her arms, dancing around the stage and singing with a power and feeling that sent chills down my spine.

For those who needed a good dose of dirty rock and roll, Harvey and the band served up The Wheel, with a Stooges-like riff played by 5 guitarists, three sax players honking like an X-Ray Spex record and two drummers. Utterly mesmerizing!

I particularly love the way she draws upon older music to make something new and vibrant such as her reference to Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues during The Words That Maketh Murder…”what if I take my problem to the United Nations”, her sample of Muddy Waters’ Mannish Boy at the beginning of The Ministry Of Social Affairs and her use of the old spiritual Wade In The Water during River Anacostia.

There were a few old favourites thrown in…Down By The Water and To Bring You My Love, both re-invigorated by the superb band, were featured at the end of the set, as was a hard rocking 50 Foot Queenie from 1993’s Rid Of Me.

Hearing that song made me realize that this was PJ’s own version of I’m A Man…”I could have ten sons, ten gods, teen queens”, she boasts, “ten foot and rising”.

If there was one musician who stood out, it was sax player Terry Edwards. His sound was anything but soothing. It had a tough edge that brought another level of urgency to the songs. PJ herself played sax throughout the show as well.

This use of sax had me thinking of Bowie…how he used jazz man Donnie McCaslin on Blackstar and his own playing in the 70s. Harvey even hoisted her instrument on her shoulder ala Bowie on Pinups.

I think the comparison with Bowie goes deeper. Both artists were/ are constantly looking forward, pushing boundaries and doing whatever they feel they must as artists despite what their fans might want.

PJ Harvey’s last three albums…The Hope Six Demolition Project, Let England Shake and White Chalk are as inventive, challenging, intelligent and satisfying as any three Bowie albums and this show really proved what a talented and provocative artist PJ Harvey has become.

Marty Duda


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:25 pm 
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https://www.lomography.com/magazine/331951-pj-harvey-snapshot-tour-with-the-lc-a

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