PJ HARVEY, BIRMINGHAM ACADEMY, 11TH SEPTEMBER 2004
If anyone wasn't aware of the fact that Ms Harvey left her delicate and sombre period behind some time ago, then they are as soon as '50ft Queenie', a song that truly deserves the title 'blast from the past', roars out of the amps. Clearly prisoners are not to be taken tonight.
The set - which, compared to her Glasto showing, is remarkably light on material from her most recent outing Uh Huh Her (only 'Who The Fuck?', 'Shame' and the marvellous single 'The Letter') - bears the imprint of the company she's been keeping lately, Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan, in its rawness and general aggression.
Resplendent as ever in yellow, and singing with the same sumptuously rich voice live as on record, she's flanked by a bounding straggle-haired guitarist straight out of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and a lanky bassist who seems to have got lost on the way to an audition for a Damned covers band, while long-time collaborator Rob Ellis pounds the skins.
Disappointments are few, but if my companion's main gripe is her ignoring his repeated pleas for 'Down By The Water', then mine is her decision to reappear for a second single-song encore rather than to leave a fantastically strident 'Big Exit' as just that - her big exit.
More than anything, though, the night reminds me of the gaping holes in my record collection which need to be plugged. Selectadisc, here I come...
Note to the Birmingham Academy: Maybe it's just me, but I don't expect to have to wait fully half an hour to buy some shit and stupidly overpriced lager, thereby being forced to "enjoy" the first five songs of the headline act with my back to the stage, especially when the gig ticket has cost the best part of £20. You twats.