Wow. Thanks, Simon.
I was there. I was about as close as Simon, but a bit more to the right. What an incredible gig it was. I've seen hundreds of great gigs over the years from the obscure to the massive stars, but this was easily one of the best I've ever seen.
kind of intrigued by how people can sit through the same show and have completely polar reactions.
I was bored shitless. still, pretty staging, kind of art nouveau music hall meets a 1910s/ 20s pre-jazz novelty band, and the notion of splitting the drum kit in half was clever, but the whole thing seemed suffocated by their adherence to the concept. the set pacing was plodding, some of the solos seemed tacked on for the sake of 'musicality' and Harvey's ambitions weren't matched by her vocal ability.
after a handful of songs I was gagging for a solid beat to cut through all the instrumentation (there was a lot of them on stage) and add punch to the bass lines. as for all the marching about, I thought Mick looked uncomfortable - if his Birthday Party self had been there I bet you dollars to donuts he'd have stormed the stage and kicked himself in the balls.
then there was her silence. now I don't mind some pretention and contrivance (St Vincent/ Bowie etc and so on) but the performance felt remote and oddly joyless. had a sense the band was less enjoying themselves then trying to make sure they hit their marks. I hoped they might kick it up a gear for the encore, but when they came out and started chanting "rules and regulations" I was a doneburger. she looked rock and roll but.