don't you tell me how i feel.

let terminal 5 shake by don't you tell me how i feel.

The fabled lady from afar.

Last Wednesday, we witnessed the final night of PJ Harvey’s two-show stand at NYC’s Terminal 5. Here’s the breakdown, brought to you by V and Steele.


* The haunting shadow cast by the Hitchcock-esque raven headress she wore. Creepy, old-timey and, like PJ herself, totally unique.

* PJ’s thick, lovely British accent. When she finally spoke, which was only to offer a few words of thanks and to introduce her bandmates, she sounded just like you’d want her to.

* Beholding the otherworldliness that is PJ Harvey. There’s a reason people worship her; she truly looks and seems as though she comes from someplace very far away and possibly long ago.

* “Pocket Knife.” Easily the best song of the night. The crowd was clearly into it, and it was one of the few moments when she shimmied and smiled. It was also the only time I felt like the band actually added something significant to the song live.

* The two songs she played from White Chalk, “The Devil” and “Silence.” Oooh.

* No opener. Loved that. I mean, does she really need one?


* The venue, the venue, and also the venue. Have I mentioned that Terminal 5 sucks? I can’t say it enough. The sightlines are terrible, and the acoustics are such that you can hear people talking around you the entire time. It’s also no-frills in the worst possible way — the place is a giant warehouse better suited to a dirty ’90s rave. And there’s zero stagecraft. The band is positioned in front of a black wall. ENJOY.

* We all agreed that she seemed somewhat restrained. She did not let it rip in classic PJ style as we’d hoped. 

* She hewed mostly to the new album with a few forays into others, primarily Is this Desire with one track each from Uh Huh Her, To Bring You My Love and Stories From the City. It was a sadly Rid of Me-free show.


 * The new album is solid, and the songs from Let England Shake sounded good, for the most part. But the new stuff never caught fire onstage, particularly when played side-by-side with older songs. Hearing the desperate, angry “C’mon Billy” was one of the night’s most thrilling moments, perhaps second only to her undulating performance of “Pocket Knife.” Those were songs she released in 1995 and 2004, respectively. Even the few songs she played from White Chalk were more powerful and affecting than anything from Let England Shake – and that’s an album that even some hardcore fans never got into.

* I will second this and say that the performance of Let England Shake was the record NOTE FOR NOTE. I think this speaks highly of the band, but you kind of want more in a live setting.

the band, plus someone’s eerily placed hands in the foreground.

For better pics, you can check out Brooklyn Vegan’s review.


1 Comment so far
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Agreed on all points. I would add that PJ was best when her hands were free of instruments.

Comment by Lehtola

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