Accompanied my PJ Harvey-loving lover to see the enigmatic British singer-songwriter in concert last night after work. Although I knew a grand total of zero of her songs prior to Damian's buying the tickets -- even "Down by the River" didn't ring a bell -- I peeked at the setlist and crammed via YouTube, so went into the show kinda knowing what to expect.
That turned out to be more than I could say for the rest of the sold-out crowd, who looked a bit shell-shocked that she did all 11 songs off her latest album -- gloriously, I might add, with an eight-piece (all-but-marching) band that made you want to scream: "Tusk!" -- while all but ignoring her '90s heyday.
Despite this Morrissey-by-way-of-Madonna tactic -- is it a British thing? -- her show(wo)manship and stage presence were enough for me to see why they were all but hanging from the rafters at the city's worst concert venue, where the temperature must have been near 90 degrees .
And by the time she did "50ft Queenie"-- which reminded me of old Pretenders stuff and by the explosive response was clearly the moment her fans had been desperately waiting for-- I could definitely see how she'd acquired such a following, even if she seems to like to torture them for their enduring loyalty.