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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:32 pm 
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First Reviews

http://exclaim.ca/music/article/pj_harv ... n_april_13

PJ Harvey
Massey Hall, Toronto ON, April 13

PJ Harvey certainly knows how to make an entrance. Along with her nine-man band, the English singer-songwriter came marching out like the military to the beat of a snare and bass drum. Having skipped Toronto for her last two albums — 2007's White Chalk and 2011's Let England Shake — this was exactly the type of theatrical performance fans had waited 13 years for.

Decked in a deep purple ensemble complete with a dramatic, crow-feathered hat, Harvey cast an immediate and striking presence. She jumped right into material from last year's The Hope Six Demolition Project, first taking place with her sax midway back from the stage, in line with the band. Over the course of the night she would continually switch between frontperson and sax player, assuming those two duties with no sign of egotism.

For the first two songs, "Chain of Keys" and "The Ministry of Defence," she gripped the instrument at all times; if she wasn't blowing into it, she was holding it high, front and centre as she sang her protest songs into the mic. For "The Community of Hope" she put it down to vocally stress that "they're gonna put a Walmart here" before moving to the shuffling rhythms of "The Orange Monkey."

Harvey proceeded to play a trio of songs from Let England Shake, which felt like a nice gesture considering she never made it here for that album's tour. "The Words That Maketh Murder" inspired an audience clap-along, but it was her band that stole the moment, backing her up like a gang of seamen singing a shanty. She also graciously threw in "When Under Ether" and "The Devil," songs from her ghostly, piano-heavy White Chalk.

After delving back into The Hope Six Demolition Project with the graceful "Dollar, Dollar," Harvey finally acknowledged the sold-out crowd with a bow, after a long pause that produced "We love you PJ!" cheers. And then it was right into the loudest song of the night, a rousing version of "The Wheel."

With its dusty "That's What They Want" sample, "The Ministry of Social Affairs" transfixed the room thanks to a volatile sax coda by Terry Edwards who, I swear to God, nearly blew his own head off.

As the crowd was recovering from Edwards' blast, the band then launched right into Rid of Me's "50ft Queenie," which saw Harvey transform into a bad-ass rock star with all the right moves. She followed one classic with another, dropping the seething bass riff from "Down By the Water," which garnered the largest response from the crowd all night. Harvey got right into it as well, conjuring up the serpentine dance from the song's video, which inspired many in the crowd to do the same.

It was at this point that Harvey finally spoke. Saying a courteous "thank you," she introduced her band (two drummers, three saxophonists), which, among others, featured a handful of legends: Edwards on sax, Bad Seed Mick Harvey on keys and John Parish on guitars. They finished with "To Bring You My Love" and The Hope Six's haunting "River Anacostia," which closed the set like a book end, with the band quietly fading out the refrain from "Wade in the Water."

For the encore, Harvey went back to Rid of Me for a raw and raucous version of Bob Dylan's "Highway '61 Revisited," and then ended with an arresting performance of the minimal "The Last Living Rose," which she faded out with her lulling vocals.

With no opening act and virtually no dialogue in between songs, PJ Harvey and her band seemed focused on making this an experience as exhilarating, haunting and arresting as fans have come to expect. Their precision in playing these songs was awe-inspiring, even if Harvey's sheer presence alone was worth the price of admission. The wait for her return may have been long and arduous, but it was absolutely worth it.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:34 pm 
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http://www.torontosun.com/2017/04/14/pj ... ronto-show

PJ Harvey leaves fans wanting more after great Toronto show

TORONTO - British rock queen PJ Harvey embraces her theatricality as only she can.

Kicking off her most extensive North American tour in a decade with a soldout show on Thursday night at Massey Hall, Harvey and her nine-piece band marched on stage in formation.

If that wasn’t enough, she was decked out in a feathered headdress, purple tunic, black leather gloves and thigh-high boots, and was playing sax.

The live demonstration was all in service to her 2016 album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, written after she visited the controversial Hope VI housing projects in Washington, D.C., and was well represented at the tour launch with no fewer than ten songs.

It was a horns and percussion heavy set - short at 95 minutes but thrilling nonetheless - as she kicked the night off with five new tunes - Chain of Keys, The Ministry Of Defence, The Community of Hope, The Orange Monkey, and A Line In The Sand.

There was little in the way of stage banter other than thanking the audience and introducing her incredible musicians, with Harvey preferring to just let loose with her strong, clear voice and expressive movements while she rocked back and forth.

The 47-year-old Dorset native was also a generous performer, often retreating to the horn section at the back or letting others take solos on the stage dominated by a shelving-unit looking backdrop.

The show’s first highlight was The Community of Hope, later followed by standout Let England Shake from Harvey’s Mercury Prize-winning 2011 studio album of the same name as she slinked around the stage.

An audience clap-along propelled The Words That Maketh Murder and they continued to respond loudly to the follow-up The Glorious Land with Harvey’s band really showing their stuff.

The new song Dollar, Dollar, which began in the darkness with street sounds, ended with another staggering sax solo, and standing ovations greeted powerful new tunes The Wheel and The Ministry of Social Affairs plus the old classic, 50 Ft Queenie, with Harvey bathed in blue light for the latter.

The crowd remained on their feet for more older favourites Down By The River and To Bring You My Love before the set came to an end with the new song, River Anacostia with fans clapping along again.

The encore began with Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, in a nod to one of Harvey’s early influences, and ended with The Last Living Rose from Let England Shake.

Frankly, it felt like it ended just after it began with Harvey leaving everyone wanting more.



SET LIST

Chain of Keys
The Ministry of Defence
The Community of Hope
The Orange Monkey
A Line in the Sand
Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
The Glorious Land
Medicinals
When Under Ether
Dollar, Dollar
The Devil
The Wheel
The Ministry of Social Affairs
50ft Queenie
Down by the Water
To Bring You My Love
River Anacostia
ENCORE

Highway 61 Revisited
The Last Living Rose


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:47 pm 
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https://nowtoronto.com/music/concert-re ... ll-review/

PJ Harvey's Massey Hall show was like a night at the theatre
The English musician's first Toronto concert in nearly 13 years was full of grand gestures and dramatic staging
BY KEVIN RITCHIE APRIL 14, 2017 2:00 PM


PJ HARVEY at Massey Hall, Thursday, April 13. Rating: NNNN

When PJ Harvey released The Hope Six Demolition Project, many critics likened the album’s observational travelogue lyrics to poverty tourism. Inspired by trips to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C with photojournalist Seamus Murphy, the English rocker’s lyrics positioned her as outsider and witness, whisked in and out of town by hurried rhythms and skronking sax.

Her view was empathetic, but separated by a car’s windowpane – always at a remove. Subjectivity was the point.

Watching Harvey perform 10 of Hope Six’s 11 songs at Massey Hall at her first Toronto gig in nearly 13 years was a similarly one-sided experience.


More theatrical performance than concert, the show was created with British theatre director Ian Rickson and opened with Harvey and her band marching on stage in formation. They brandished snares, saxes and woodwinds as they launched into Hope Six track Chain Of Keys.

Harvey, of course, was instantly identifiable among her nine-strong band of men in black (including former Bad Seed Mick Harvey, Queens of the Stone Age’s Alain Johannes and long-time collaborator John Parish). She looked elegant and bird-like in a purple puss-in-boots wrap jacket and feathered headdress combo (by Ann Demeulemeester), and everything she did for the ensuing 90 minutes was as choreographed and intentional as that dramatic entrance.

The band followed the opening with four more rollicking Hope Six songs – The Ministry Of Defense, The Community Of Hope, The Orange Monkey and A Line In The Sand – and three cuts from 2010’s Let England Shake. For each one, Harvey would emerge from her chorus line of players, sometimes brandishing a sax that she held dramatically to one side when singing. She gestured her free hand about, tracing and miming lyrics with a ceremonial poise. Her vocals were equally controlled, her cadences and emphasis perfectly precise. Then, at the end of each number, she would retreat wordlessly to rejoin the band in the shadows.

For the solemn When Under Ether, off 2007's White Chalk, she stood perfectly still with arms at her side. The similarly minimal Dollar, Dollar began with a snippet of street noise and a fragile organ note that crescendo-ed into a bellowing call-and-response with Harvey's crystalline voice. The Wheel and The Ministry Of Defense both brought the crowd to their feet for standing ovations. The latter included a show-stopping extended solo by Terry Edwards, who blew the shit out of a baritone sax and a tenor sax at the same time.

The crowd remained standing for a volley of oldies – 50 Ft. Queenie, Down By The Water, To Bring You My Love – that dispersed the protest politics with a bit of lustiness. For the main set finale, the band returned to the front of the stage and sang out the spiritual refrain to River Anacostia with an arresting a cappella that was nearly ruined by the audience cheesily clapping in time.

Given PJ Harvey’s long absence from Toronto, you can’t fault fans for being giddy. Despite the heavy atmosphere and silence that greeted them between songs, many audience members had no inhibitions when it came to blurting out desperate professions of love.

Perhaps some wanted something closer to turned-up rock, hot-pink jumpsuit and caked on blue eye shadow PJ Harvey of the mid-1990s. But this regal – and flawless sounding – version of PJ Harvey was a reminder that she has always used theatrical artifice and performance to both draw people in and create a level of distance.

kevinr@nowtoronto.com | @kevinritchie

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:43 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:14 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:49 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:44 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:38 pm 
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http://www.liveinlimbo.com/2017/04/17/concert-reviews/pj-harvey-at-massey-hall.html

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