Live @ The Roxy, Atlanta, Georgia
By: Eric G.
PJ Harvey appeared in Atlanta, Georgia on the final night of her much too brief tour of the U.S. in support of Is This Desire? (her recently released fourth album). The patient crowd endured a mildly entertaining set by The Rachels before Harvey took the stage. The set covered almost every song off the new album, and the crowd seemed pleased enough just to have her. Harvey's backing band featured former bandmate and multi-instrumentalist Rob Ellis, Eric Drew Feldman formerly of Pere Ubu on keyboards, and long time collaborator John Parish switching between drums and guitar.
The crowd seemed most excited when Harvey would strap on a guitar herself, but these occasions were far too few and between. The tracks off Is This desire? received major restructuring for the live presentation because their respective recorded versions were heavy on the electronics, so the full band effect revealed new dynamics to several songs. The weakest song on the album, "The Wind", turned out to be the weakest song live, but other than that the set flowed seamlessly. Harvey's voice brought the room to its knees several times, particularly on "Angelene" and "Joy."
Harvey rarely humored the crowd, which shrieked ceaselessly for songs off her first album, although, she did bash out a rollicking version of "Dress." No "50Ft Queenie." No "Rid Of Me." The older songs that she did play were mainly off To Bring You My Love, which more than sufficed, but it still would have been nice to hear more old stuff. Few women in rock attract such an obsessive following (Harvey accepted every gift put on the stage by fans). Despite her shyness, Harvey handled herself with grace, treating the crowd to two encores before profusely thanking everyone for coming and exiting the stage.