Monday, 27 June 2011

Let Lisbon shake


Recently I saw PJ Harvey play in Lisbon, Portugal. It was a most excellent show.

Having been unable to secure tickets for London (sold out) and Berlin (German bureaucracy), I had resigned myself to not seeing PJ Harvey on this tour. When a show in Portugal was announced, I logged on and checked the seating plan. It was mostly sold, but there was one seat free on its own, centre 4th row. Well it would have been churlish not to buy it.

The venue was great. On the university complex, the theatre was a beautiful Art Deco building constructed during the era of right wing control of the country, as it seemed did most of the buildings in the university.

Firstly I must comment on the high quality selection of pastries behind the bar inside (you wouldn't get that at the Academy), next on the reasonably priced beer, drank in very small glasses as elsewhere in Lisbon. My seat was more of an armchair, with a great view of the stage. The venue even had wifi, so I sent some email whilst waiting for the show to start.

For this tour, Polly Harvey was joined by long-term collaborators Mick Harvey and John Parish, as well as Jean Marc Butty on drums. It was an impressive line up of accomplished musicians and they produced a wonderful show. Of course drawing heavily on material from latest album 'Let England Shake', there were some good choices of old favourites.

The reaction of the crowd was interesting. A lot more muted than at a UK show but extremely warm and passionate. Respectful. Reverant.

Polly used an autoharp on several songs, which is an instrument that I can't quite work out but intrigues me all the same.

I really enjoyed the show and Lisbon as a whole. A most captivating city!