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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 12, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 19
To Bring You My Love:

PJ Harvey in peak form at the WaMu
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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To Bring You My Love:

PJ Harvey in peak form at the WaMu

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

PJ HARVEY
WAMU THEATER
May 5


PJ Harvey's appearance at the WaMu Theater on Friday, May 5 was a very, very big deal to fans of the English musician/singer-songwriter that have revered her with unwavering dedication for nearly twenty-five years. Though she hit it 'big' in the early '90s - influencing everyone from Kurt Cobain to modern icon-in-the-making Anna Calvi in the intervening years - her music never felt particularly tied to that era. Her predilection for dirty blues topped with poetic lyrics was both too pure and too different to fizzle out or follow trends that now seem so passé. Who would've guessed that Polly Jean Harvey, the unusual beauty with the scrappy non-traditional voice, would outsmart - and out-rock - all the grunge bands of the '90s and move on to refine and explore her music for decades to come?

It would seem that no one at the WaMu Theater Friday night ever doubted that for a moment. Dressed artfully in leggings and an asymmetrical cinched kimono-style wrap, PJ looked every bit the chic, modern siren that fans have come to worship in increasing numbers over the years. Her long dark hair was topped with a feathered mohawk headdress with a few wispy blonde extensions, her hands and arms completely covered in black leather gloves. Through an elegant, powerful 20 song set PJ Harvey's singular talent once again leveled the room and left the packed house completely awestruck. Touring on the heels of her latest release The Hope Six Demolition Project, the majority of the set was the current album while Let England Shake was the second most widely represented from her back catalog. It's a tough sell for audiences to swallow a mostly unfamiliar set of newish material sans the 'hits,' but to the credit of PJ and her band (several of whom have toured with her previously and also with former romantic partner, Nick Cave) the album resonated more in person than on the studio recording.

PJ's measured poise and urgent, eloquent lyrics proved to be every bit as gripping as seeing her on any fiery guitar-laden club tour from years past. At 47, her artistry has only grown deeper, richer, and more powerful. The dense all-male backed Hope Six album is clearly more globally focused than Let England Shake; and to the cavernous WaMu's credit the sound was impeccable and every word discernible. Few artists can (or do) think to feature 'mental institution' or 'memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln' in a verse or chorus, but PJ does, and somehow you find yourself singing along. Though many of her lyrical references are unknowable, the general feeling of bewilderment, anger, and unrest resulting from the current tangle of world affairs was palpable. A sense of shared longing and hope seemed to permeate the theater while the backdrop subtly shifted from an image of what could have been a building, a prison, or an industrial city block anywhere at any time.

Nearly an hour in, she thanked the audience and started into a suite of older songs ('50 Ft. Queenie,' 'Down by The Water,' 'To Bring You My Love,' and 'The River'). The songs were just slightly updated, but true to form and gratifying. 'To Bring You My Love' in particular seemed to rise from a deep well of feeling inside her, her arms outstretched as her voice soared and filled the theater. It was a breathtaking moment - revealing an incomparable, uncompromising artist at the height of her powers.

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SIFF announces lineup for Seattle International Film Festival's 43rd edition
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Seattle Symphony presents Broadway Rocks with Seattle Men's Chorus and guest soloists May 19-21
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MOR presents new commissions on Europe's Roma people during the Holocaust
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Rainbow City Performing Arts -

MEET OUR NEW DIRECTORS

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To Bring You My Love:

PJ Harvey in peak form at the WaMu

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Seattle Opera's The Magic Flute

An addendum

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