Friday, May 28

PJ Harvey - Oxford Zodiac - May 26th 2004

DISCLAIMER - This is not a review, merely a recollection of events.

The evening didn't start well when our designated driver got blocked in inside a car park in Walsall and we were over an hour late getting away down the M40. However we were soon away, and thanks to Katy's great map we reached the Cowley Road having only got lost twice. Once just outside Oxford and the other in Kings Norton, South Birmingham!

Anyway we soon found the absolute bargain of Tesco carpark (50p all evening), and although we were tempted by a visit to the splendidly named nearby takeaway 'The Kebab Kid' we headed to the venue where we met up with Katy, Squib, Katy's brother and other assorted people who I don't believe have websites!

Inside the venue my friend Dean was already trying to deceive me by texting me and telling me to hurry up as Polly had already started her set......now call me gullible, but I had already believed him earlier in the week when he told me he'd seen Chris Eubank providing backing vocals for Nick Cave at a Leonard Cohen tribute night in Brighton....but this time, I refused to be tricked...

On the subject of Nick Cave - what's the form on wearing one of his T-Shirts to a PJ Harvey gig....
And also what is 'a modern day gypsy landslide'?....we were discussing this on the way home

Anyway, the venue is small, very small - I don't think she'll be playing a gig anywhere that small again for quite some time, apart from her secret gig in my back garden of course my my birthday.

Polly took to the stage wearing the killer combination of a black and white stripey dress and pink tights - very Karen O-esque I have to say)
She has a new band too. Rob Ellis is still on drums, but there is a new bass player called Dingo who is HUGE and apparently was in The Fall! and an amazing second guitarist/second drummer called Josh Klinghoffer I believe.

That's right, on a couple of tracks including a kick ass version of 'victory' there was a heavy metal esque two drummer face off!

The new material sounded fab, with 'The Letter' probably actually being one of the weaker tracks. 'Who the fuck?' is my favourite. I first saw her play it at the soundcheck in the Eden Project last year to a crowd of bemused families faces aghast as Polly stared shouting the work fuck into the microphone repeatedly to try and get the right level from the soundman! Other tracks like 'The life and death of Mr Badmouth' and 'Shame' are a turn in a much darker direction - which can only be a good thing. She's proved herself by critically and commercially, so I guess she's just back to doing things on her own terms again

Old stuff she played included 'The Wind' WOW!, 'Meet Ze Monsta', 'Fountain', 'Down by the water'.....
I can't remember the entire set, but for the encore at the end there was an amazing version of 'There will never be a better time', truly stunning....

Thom Yorke didn't show, I guess he couldn't find a babysitter. But the bass player from Radiohead was there...whatshisname....as well as other local rock celebrities such as the singer from Smilex.

The evening is all a bit of a blur...Dean made friends with the T-Shirt salesman and got an insight into the world of rock t-shirts. It was all over too fast, but at least I have some tickets for the Somerset House gig in London

So as you can see - this is why I don't do reviews of singers/bands that I love...

And we never did make it to the Kebab Kid...

Pictures may follow - but in the mean time, check out these