Live Review: PJ Harvey at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
Seeing PJ Harvey live is always a rare treat, especially when she is previewing brand-new songs from her second collaboration with John Parish, A Woman A Man Walked By (out March 31). Despite the wet umbrellas, humid air, and skunky beer, everyone at the Fillmore was itching with anticipation for the show to start. Entering the stage at exactly 9:15 pm, PJ Harvey, John Parish and three band mates were greeted by an overly packed room of clapping and whistling fans. Harvey’s eyes were bright and her wavy tresses were wild as she dove headfirst into the seductive and slow new song, “Black Hearted Love.” Harvey’s signature voice growled and climbed, her body swaying to the beat, moving like a spirit had possessed her. Parish’s rich, scratchy baritone voice and his collection of string instruments were impressive, offsetting Harvey’s brash vocals with a twangy Nashville quality.
Harvey’s theatrics shone during the elaborate “Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen,” and her somber side came out on the morbid “Cracks in the Canvas” and the shaky-voiced “April.” Two of the other songs from A Woman A Man Walked By, “Pig Will Not” and the title track, were both reminiscent of older dark and rebellious Harvey songs. Harvey is a born entertainer and is capable of snatching up attention as quickly as a frog eating a fly. Her skillful movements and multi-tiered voice entrance, melding perfectly with the talents of Parish. Harvey and Parish’s second endeavor together proved even more fruitful than the first, back in 1996 with Dance Hall at Louse Point, and is a retreat from Harvey’s last body of work, White Chalk. As she said goodnight, Harvey left the audience on a happy note; she and Parish will be back on tour again in the summertime.
- Review submitted by Danielle Kramer.