Rub ‘Til It Bleeds – PJ Harvey live in 1991


here at Hickeysonic House we’re a little giddy today having secured tickets for Polly Harvey’s tour later in the year. I’m sure all right thinking people agree the new album developed the sound of ‘Let England Shake’ into something stronger and the televised Glastonbury performance was an absolute triumph. So obviously we’re happy about that, and what a band she’s got at the moment as well – just incredible. Anyway, I popped along to the you-toobs, watched a bit of Glastonbury and searched for some clips of the ‘To Bring you My Love’ band with Eric Drew Feldman. I discovered a couple of things along my way. Firstly there actually are people who don’t like the newer stuff and pretty much wish she’d never grown or changed as an artist. Because people are idiots. And secondly this great little early live set from a few months before ‘Dry’ was released. Being long in the tooth and sore of back we’re old enough to remember way back then and how very striking her arrival on the scene was. It was almost immediately obvious, certainly by the time ‘Dry’ came out, that it was more than just a good indie rock band, that Polly was a unique voice, a major artist and she’d soon leave us behind and go out and conquer the wide world. She didn’t know it yet though, it’s an occasional reward of going to see a lot of gigs that you sometimes catch people who don’t yet know just how good they are. She caught on pretty fast to the power she has though and (after a brief wobble about doing music at all) has been using it to continually impressive effect ever since.

I’m not the biggest fan of a lot concert videos on tinternet but this one is worth your time. A short half hour set from what is basically a hometown show. The footage is endearingly shonky and dim, shot from the the mixing desk most likely on old vhs but nonetheless pretty good. I find it preferable to the ultra high def super close up footage you get from Glastonbury. It wasn’t a such problem with PJ but watching some of the other sets it seemed to suck the life and presence out of the bands. More importantly, while there are a few old school tape wobbles later on, the sound is fantastic and captures the amazing full tilt roar of the early trio just beautifully. There are already songs that would turn up on ‘Rid Of Me’ in the set and the end on ‘Water’. God, I used to love it when she did that, still one my favourites . It’s fierce. It’s had me leaping around grinning.



50ft Queenie


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