What goes on people? Sit down because this one is gonna be fun as the 44th installment takes us to Terminal 5 to see the one and only PJ Harvey.. Terminal 5 is a venue I used to hate but have come to love over the past few visits despite their overpriced tickets and booze.. It’s located 610 West 56th street in NYC.. It’s three floors, the third having video screens showing on stage proceedings, tons of bars everywhere and the “rooftop smoke deck” that I’ve enjoyed on my previous trips here…
Interesting to note that the ‘Bowery Presents’ website had no opening act listed, with doors opening at 7PM and show starting at 8:30PM.. now I don’t mind opening acts, actually they could be fun to write about when they’re good-better when they’re terrible. What I mind is when I’m titillated with the notion that we’re all going to enjoying strictly the sounds of PJ Harvey this evening only to have it snatched away upon arrival with a sheet of paper handwritten set times of several openers. Just don’t lie to us- just list openers TBA and you’ll save us all the anxiety. Now I’m headed out there early just to try and figure out what the deal is. Doors opening at 7, I’m slated to be there, to put it modestly, way before that time. Anyway, as with her music, this evening with PJ Harvey is going to be very interesting. Let’s roll…
I was through through the door right when they opened-figured I’d scope out spots and all that. Looked up and saw people lined up along the railings on the second and third floors-made my way upstairs. The second floor side railing section is VIP, but the third floor. I pulled up a chair and grabbed my self an amazing spot- can’t wait til the lights come on so I could start taking pics of this. And no event staffers in sight on this floor-let’s let the bootlegging begin! And still, no signs of an opening act, as the stage seems set up for only one band. I guess we’ll find out in about an hour and a half…
I didnt buy into the whole “no opening act” thing until about 8:49, when PJ Harvey and her band it the stage.. She’s taken the spot of the stage to the far left- which is directly below where I stand. At times if she backs up the speaker blocks my view of her, but most of the night there she is- in that long white dress looking like Sarah Silverman meets Lady Gaga( it just popped into my head while watching. She was playing this inverted harp thing on some songs, including the one we kicked the night off with: “Let England Shake”. And by the way, if I didn’t get the concept of the record off the several listens I’ve had of it since it came out, the point is driven home now-despair, apathy and hopelessness.
Healthy transition to “The Words that Maketh Murder” and “All and Everyone”, beautifully dark tunes about death-I take a look to the ground floor to see what life down there is looking like. Man it is packed down there, looks like the standing room is also flooding out to the hallway by the merch table. Wish the place was lit up more so the crowds of fans leaning over the second and third floors could be seen in the shot.
Tonight I got drawn into a lot more PJ Harvey songs then I figured I would. I mean, my camera is perched on the ledge, so it’s not very taxing. That left my mind time to drift away into the next few songs like “The Big Guns Call me Back Again” and “Written on the Forehead”. Then a snag in our proceedings, as during the next song “In the Dark Places” while attempting to zoom in on my camera I hit the stop button, thus ruining the perfect game I was pitching with the bootlegging (end up with 20 songs-the event staff over at Town Hall would go ballistic). I remember live-tweeting a pic at that moment because I had both hands free(most of the night was doing that one handed while recording mind you), and prepared for the next one.
The band is sort of in the middle of the stage not really near the front.. John Parish is playing guitar along with keys at times and other assortments, Mick Harvey is on keyboards, and Jean-Marc Butty is drumming. They’re doin’ their thing over there while the presence that Polly Jean Harvey commands on stage is some other worldly stuff (like Patti Smith without crappy poetry-no I kid, love Patti). She doesn’t demand it, doesn’t even seem to do it on purpose-but she’s there in that white dress alone away from the band…in the spotlight belting out such dark lyrics mostly. Next up another day brightener called “The Devil” and people let me tell you that this is freakin’ awesome, I mean she’s like right down there! After our buddy the Reverend Justito tweeted that he’d pay me 3 $2 bills if I was able to spit on her and get it on YouTube. I honestly did survey the angle a bit, but with the speaker overhanging I wasn’t sure if I could hock out a flem gem curve ball-so there goes journalism history tonight.
“The Sky Lit Up” is a great song, and a song called “the Glorious Land” was after that. Some more instant favorites of mine after tonight came 3 in a row, with “The Last Live Rose”, “England” and “The Pocket Knife”. Man I keep looking down,I can’t believe this show(and tomorrow nights) are sold out-I thought there’d be five of us here. It is hot as hell I here. As I sweat like a pig (no Porks pun intended) on the third floor, I wonder what must it feel like to be down there with the only thing to lean on is other sweaty men. Again, it was stuffy, but at least I was surround by girls and had a ledge and shit-blackberry sitting on the ledge live-tweeting because that’s how I roll-as we rolled into “Bitter Branches”, followed by the only PJ Harvey song I have on my iPod believe it or not, “Down By The Water”. What a great song, not to be confused with the Decemberists song by the same name. That was when the night went from awesome to epic-it was house money from there on.
The building continues to rock out to tunes going from “C’mon Billy”, “Hanging in the wire”, “On Battleship Hill” and “The Colour of the Earth” before placing their instruments down and giving bows as the lights turned on.. the place was going nuts as they walked off around 10:15 give or take a few minutes. As the lights shut off and the crowd didn’t pipe down one bit, I kept rolling tape waiting for them to come back out. I timed it at about 4 minutes they were off stage before returning to play us three more tunes: “Big Exit”, “Angelene” and “Silence” before calling it an evening around 10:30..
So many things going right in this adventure we had tonight. Besides the great music, I got myself a good seat PLUS there was no opening act. It was an evening with PJ Harvey. You may look at the set time and think that 1030 is an early time to end a show, but most of her songs aren’t 10 minute ballards, I had a few videos clocking in under three minutes. And anyway this wasn’t bad at all considering a huge part of my decision upon making this purchase was frustration that QOTSA tickets sold out on me in minutes that day-but alas, the amazing PJ Harvey to the rescue as tickets to this show were on sale same day as that QOTSA show. Pretty awesome fall back plan when you think about it.
Oh well, hope we all had ourselves a fun journey-because I sure did. And this will be done and posted way before I’m finished uploading videos to YouTube, as 20 songs takes a while when your internet connection sucks as bad as mine does. Head over to the Jay Porks YouTube Channel to see everything when it’s up
Anyway, quick turn around as this Thursday the 21st one of my favorite bands comes back to town as Local H hits the Mercury Lounge! Pumped for that already, I’ll still be humming PJ Harvey tunes(Full set list below). Well, thanks for participating everyone, and I hope I was able to make you feel like you were there. So until Thursday, I bid you farewell. LATE.
-Let England Shake
-The words that Maketh Murder
-All and Everyone
-The Big Guns call me back again
-Written on the Forehead
-In the dark places…..
-The Sky Lit Up
-The Glorious Land
-The Last Living Rose
-The Pocket Knife
-Down by the Water
-Hanging in the wire
-On Battleship Hill
-The Colour of the Earth