Wednesday, April 20, 2011

P J Harvey Terminal 5 New York April 19 April 20

PJ Harvey came to stand left of center on stage spot on 8:45pm.
She wore a long, chalk-white dress.
Her auto harp cradled across her bosom.
Her oil-black hair was dressed up with two HUGE black feathers.
I thought it was a whole bird hat til she turned sideways and the feathers floated far back behind her - almost like a 3-cornered admiral nelson hat.
Against the black curtain she stood out as a wild icelandic creature.
She wore little make up, no signature blood red lips so her face seemed white and ghostly and throughout the show she kept her movements small (which could have disappointed those expecting the Polly Presley of "This is Love" videoness).
Some utterly beautiful photographs by Andrew St. Clair

Sometimes at the end of a song she would walk to the back of the stage that seemed miles and miles away and when she walked back to the mike for the next song, she appeared to float.
Sometimes the stillness of her body allowed the floaty quality to smoke up into the room but it also seemed the stillness grounded her voice so she accessed every vein and artery and breath to call the songs out to me standing in the middle of the melay. She - like an inspiring queen before a battle. Me, like a little shakespearean oik at the Globe Theatre.
I found myself ten feet further in by the middle of her set and I don't remember moving.

I think it was a considered choice not to have anything red on stage.
The men wore brown swede and brown cotton calling to mind blacksmiths and farmers. Maybe Dorset relatives.
Nick Harvey (no relation - although by the end how couldn't he be) on piano, sat centre.
The drum kit appeared way back on stage right and towards the front stage right was the bass player. John Parrish. I couldn't see but I expect they were wearing wellingtons or muddy boots.
The instruments were more like furniture to these acts that were each song.
The musicians thoughtfully moved to position to perform certain songs like [civil war drum song].

The two geezers that are Harvey and Parrish often seemed like minders than musicians. They had deep weathered emotional weight to their singing.
The younger [Jean french name Barum drum] drummer came forward at one point with his "civil war" drum to bang slowly through [song title].

At some point, I felt like each song was a moving painting. Or like I was turning the pages of a picture book.
One might be from a Regency era.
One from outside some Fraganard sitting room.
At some point, I expected someone to draw the curtains in back, to see Constable's hay wain lumbering left to right, and maybe Dorset farmers and maids a-milking in a shed somewhere.
Or a Turner battleship off a coastline.
An Edwardian sufferagette smoking outside St. Paul's cathedral.

The album "Let England Shake" isn't preachy. It's personal. It's war. It's why? It's please don't leave me for that. It's sad. It's beating the drum. It's grim older wiser voices behind simple high pitch calling from this angel harped, accomplished guitarist.

Even tho the lights came on at the end, the farewell music didn't play.
We clapped.
We chanted "Roadie", like youdo.
Someone called to the dressing room for RID OF ME in exchange for their first born. She sang about longing and triggered it in us.
I think she had a second encore in her but we'd seen Mr. Parrish put his raincoat over his arm and his evening chair and slippers beckoned him
I resigned myself to thinkin she was saving her vocals for tonight's demanded second addition show.

At the end of the show, we happened to be clapping behind Delphine Blue who invited us [in the London Fog outside] for a drink at the after party for Big Audio Dynamite at the nearby Hudson Hotel.

If you can get tickets for tonight (i see ebay has some available for reasonable), take tissues.

April 20
Thunder in the forecast...

SET LIST April 19

Let England Shake [From Let England Shake (LES)]
The Words That Maketh Murder [LES]
All And Everyone [LES]
The Big Guns Called Me Back Again
Written On The Forehead [LES]
In The Dark Places [LES]
The Devil [White Chalk]
The Sky Lit Up [This is Desire]
The Glorious Land [LES]
The Last Living Rose [LES]
England [LES]
Pocket Knife [Uh Huh Her]
Bitter Branches [LES]
Down By The Water
C'mon Billy [To Bring you my love]
Hanging In The Wire [LES]
On Battleship Hill [LES]
The Colour Of The Earth [LES]
Big Exit [Stories from the city and the sea]
Angelene [This is Desire]
Silence [White Chalk]