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Electric Picnic 2011 - PJ Harvey

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ATL | 22:37 UK time, Friday, 2 September 2011

Main Stage, Friday 2nd September, 8.45pm

Describe in a Tweet: Big black monsoon, take me with you.

PJ Harvey at Electric Picnic 2011 by Carrie Davenport - www.carriedavenport.com

 

What happened: This was simply magnificent. Clad from head to toe in black, looking like she had stepped out of a Tim Burton movie, PJ Harvey strode on stage, strapped on the autoharp and launched into the title track of her latest album, Let England Shake. Within minutes, the main stage audience multiplied to the sort of levels this wonderful specimen truly deserves. No wonder, as the sound was so magnificent it couldn't fail to draw you in. Sparse yet thunderous, subtle and fragile yet at the same time hugely powerful. It only got better as the guitar came out and we were treated to an inspired choice from a songbook with few peers. Down By The Water beckoned the heavens to open, adding to the swirling, menacing atmosphere. Let It Burn and The Pocket Knife were captivating, but the farewell salvo of Big Exit and Meet Ze Monster really underlined what a total legend PJ Harvey is. Seriously, could she be ANY cooler? Is that even possible? The answer is no. The woman is a treasure.

Good Fortune: A girl who couldn't have been any older than six was up on her dad's shoulders throughout, arms outstretched, nodding and grooving along impressively in time with every song. ATL greatly approves - what better role model could a young lady have? She'll grow up ok.

Evil: Nothing negative to say about the set whatsoever. Suppose anyone could complain about their personal back catalogue favourite being ommitted, but the only evil thing about this performance was the fact that, when she was strumming the old autoharp, Polly seemed as if she might have been a sort of evil, sinister reincarnation of Mother Maybelle Carter.

EP rating: 9/10

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