Monthly Archives: January 2012

pj harvey at state theatre 18.01.12

PJ Harvey returned to Australia for the first time in four years last night as part of Sydney Festival. It is always a stressful experience getting tickets to any Sydney Festival event, but even moreso because it was PJ Harvey. It was already clear at the entrance to the venue, that her return was highly anticipated and this was going to be special. Dressed in black from head to toe, she mesmerised the audience with her ethereal presence, with an autoharp, featuring heavily in her latest, Let England Shake clutched tightly to her chestIn their live set-up, the band, which included long time collaborator John Parish, were impeccable as the crisp sounds they produced resonated throughout the State Theatre as they went through the album in its entirety, with highlights including the single, The Words That Maketh Murder as well as a b-side, The Big Guns Called Me Back. It was clear after a couple of songs, that the absence of banter (somewhat characteristic of PJ Harvey shows), as well as little acknowledgement of the audience only added to her ability to move the audience. Even the light set-up, the stage darkened in between each song and minimal light illuminating the stage, supported an album centred around death and war. It is also unmistakable why she has had such an illustrious career so far. Her longevity as a musician is clearly validated by her exquisite song-writing skills, and ability to convey it through the sound medium, even more captivating live. 2008’s White Chalk featured prominently in the set, with Harvey’s voice (sounding much stronger live than on record) soaring across the upper register in songs like The Devil, adding to the emotion rippling through the audienceOccasionally, she switched to guitar to perform several songs from her back catalogue, with Pocket Knife and Down By The Water met with rapturous applause from the audience. Finishing off the main set with the more upbeat The Colour of the Earth, Sydney responded with nothing less than a standing ovation. Returning after a short break, the encore included an early favourite, Angelene and closed with a sublimely haunting rendition of Silence, leaving the audience fulfilled, and happy to have experienced what is definitely one of the highlights of 2012.


Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
All and Everyone
The Big Guns Called Me Back
Written on the Forehead
In The Dark Places
The Devil
Dear Darkness
The Glorious Land
The Last Living Rose
Pocket Knife
Bitter Branches
On Battleship Hill
Down By The Water
C’mon Billy
Hanging In The Wire
The Colour Of The Earth

The Piano

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metronomy at manning bar 05.01.12

In support of their latest, the Mercury Prize nominated English Riviera, Metronomy delighted the Sydney crowd last night, who were much relaxed despite the delay with door opening times. Opening with We Broke Free, the seagull sounds kept with the warm-summery theme evoked by the album.

The electronic Love Underlined was well complemented by the band’s light show, everyone on stage equipped with a push-light, synced to the bass drum to great effect. She Wants was well received with applause from the crowd, followed by lead singer Joseph Mount then asking how many people in the crowd were really named Corrine. Around five hands were raised, to which Mount jokingly responded with, ‘we’ll see how many are left standing after this song’.

This was in addition to the thoroughly entertaining idiosyncrasies of Oscar Cash, who efficaciously worked the keyboard and saxaphone, and at one point the acoustic guitar, to which lead singer Joseph Mount motioned the crowd to ‘boo’ at, because it made them look like twats. They powered through each song, with precise and crisp notes complemented by bassist Gbenga Adelekan, formerly of Lightspeed Champion, along with drummer Anna Prior. The crowd stayed upbeat, singing and dancing along energetically to jams including You Could Easily Have Me as well as The Look.

Launching into Everything Goes My Way, featuring drummer Anna Prior, it was great to see collaboration between the musicians, and clearly that this wasn’t a one-man effort, as with previous incarnations of Metronomy. They closed out the main set with Some Written, where Mount introduced the rest of the band.

After a short break, Metronomy played an encore consisting of an infectiously good live rendition of On Dancefloors then finished with Radio Ladio that was bound to resonate with concert-goers for the rest of the evening.

We Broke Free
Love Underlined
Back on the Motorway
She Wants
You Could Easily Have Me
The End of You Too
The Bay
The Look
A Thing for Me
Everything Goes My Way
Some Written

On Dancefloors
Radio Ladio

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on crystal castles


“Alice and Ethan are quite an enigma
together. The band doesn’t do any interviews, they arrive and leave straight
away (most of the time), and don’t associate with many others. On stage it kind
of shows – the distorted vocals of certain songs with the other microphone; the
point is you aren’t meant to ~really~ understand what she’s saying I suppose…
(although I do since I’m a freak that knows all the lyrics). Then of course
there’s the normal microphone where you hear her wailing banshee screams in
songs such as Baptism, Alice Practice and the Reckless/Through The Hosiery
She even spoke/speaks into the distorted microphone saying “I love you”, “I want
you”, etc.. it’s kind of mesmerising for some.. but weird and strange for
others. At Falls she was saying “Happy New Year” + “Hello Falls Festival”, and
Field Day she was saying “I love you Sydney” freakishly whilst staring out into
the crowd. In earlier years she used to speak to the crowd normally, but going
deeper into the hype of the band and her persona she’s more ‘mysterious’
nowadays (heck, Alice isn’t even her real name!).
To me it’s all quite hypnotic.. and it’s really just meant to send people on an
electrifying chaotic trip each time. You either love it or you don’t!

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