PJ Harvey

Photos by Megan Moss

Photos by Megan Moss

By Megan Moss

Artist: PJ Harvey

Date / Venue: Tuesday January 24th, 2017 - Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland

PJ Harvey was always going to be a 'stand-out show' of some kind... in my books anyway, in all honesty I was happy to be in the same room as her. As a fan I still didn't know what to expect from her performance last night, I just knew it would be PJ's way, theatrical and probably a weird journey of angst, confronting and uplifting at the same time... and it was.

Throughout the show I was hoping for a good dose of some older punk rocky / alternative tunes mixed in amongst 2016's 'The Hope Six Demolition Project', this seemed to be a common theme amongst concert goers last night. Not exactly what we got but actually who cares, one of the things many of us love and admire about her... PJ is NOT going to conform to what you want.  Instead she will push you and what she does deliver, she does like no other.

So from my very good vantage point when the 9 piece band consisting of (get this...) both Mick Harvey ANNNND John Parish onstage too!! Also Jean-Marc Butty, James Johnston, Terry Edwards, Alain Johannes, Kenrick Rowe, Enrico Gabrielli and Alessando Stefana plus of course PJ marched, onto the stage (a literal marching procession to a drum) with PJ on saxophone. I was pretty dam excited to see this unfold. I was also interested to see how this would all sound, the Logan Campbell can be somewhat dubious at times you see.

From where I was, it was pretty dam solid, although the need for more at times, to be pushed just a little further like a wrecking ball perhaps... would be just excellent. There were 10 people on stage with an absolute cacophony of instruments and people with talent galore goddamned it!!

So, as PJ and band delivered a set mainly covering her last couple of albums, with just a couple older goodies in there, it felt like a gradual build up of a socially challenging, dramatic bomb - driven by exceptional music, sometimes chaotic and never quite let off its leash. An intensity held back so skilfully, played upon and ready to explode. This energy was in the air everywhere.

Upon reflection the need I felt was skilfully concocted and managed by PJ & band. The audience of all makes and models and all ages were intently staring only in one direction with rapt attention. With very little actual spoken words to the audience (in fact when she did speak to the audience it was to introduce the band only, but she doesn't need to use a lot of words), she uses her movements and her smirky smile as she gazes everywhere boring holes in your soul. You hear her incredible vocal range singing clear in your ears and you feel her like another unworldly entity is in a shadow watching you.

Polly Jean Harvey; akin to a writhing and spellbinding audiovisual art piece. After Nick Cave last week and then PJ Harvey last week, I'm thinking the concert year has been completely done in, how will anyone compete? Tonight Wellington are visited by this exceptional tour, you are in for an incredible night ! Thank-you PJ Harvey and band, please come back and see us again soon!

Setlist

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
Written On The Forehead
To Talk To You
Dollar, Dollar
The Devil
The Wheel
The Ministry Of Social Affairs
50 Foot Queenie
Down By The Water
To Bring You My Love
River Anacostia
Guilty
The Last Living Rose