When you walk into a concert you always expect the show to be absolutely stunning. There is hype that comes with every performer and most of the time, you hope at least, the performance lives up to everything you want it to be. On certain occasions though what you end up witnessing exceeds those expectations and drops your jaw in amazement. On the first of only three dates in the United States this year, PJ Harvey put on one of those performances at Terminal 5 on a hot and humid Monday night in New York City.
Marching on stage with a 9 piece band, PJ Harvey went right to work with “Chain of Keys.” Although she didn’t speak to the audience much during the show, the crowd went absolutely wild for her all evening long. Mixing Celtic, Punk, Rock, and Jazz, her music filled the room with the sounds of the world. Her voice was in pristine form and it’s such a shame she doesn’t play more often, because everyone should have the opportunity to watch her perform.
Songs off of her newest album, The Hope Six Demolition Project sounded amazing live and between them the narration that she recorded during the making of the record. The big percussive instrumentation on stage really took over on many of the songs including “Ministry of Defence,” “Dollar, Dollar,” and “The Wheel.” The music in general all night, had this very hypnotic feel to it that led to the audience being completely enveloped in the sounds coming from the stage.
The last song of the set, “River Anacostia” had the whole band come to the front of the stage to sing the refrain over and over acapella and was a beautiful way to end the show. Coming back for a two song encore, PJ Harvey triumphantly finished the evening off and waved goodbye to the audience. In a move I haven’t seen in a very long time at any show, the entire audience went wild after the lights went up for roughly seven minutes yelling and hoping for her to come back, refusing to leave the venue. They wanted more and for a little bit it seemed as if was going to happen. Unfortunately the lights stayed on and everyone began to file out of the venue. With this kind of love, hopefully PJ Harvey will come back more often.
Words: Bryan Lasky
Photos: Alx Bear + Bryan Lasky