PJ Harvey and John Parish Fleece and Firkin, Bristol

Article excerpt

Polly Harvey is now at the point where she does, more or less, what she wants, and thus the Yeovil queen chose to perform Dance Hall at Louse Point, her collaboration with guitarist and art-provocateur John Parish, over four nights in a barn-like Bristol bar. Expectations had not been high. Dance Hall is a tough listen, even for acolytes. Parish's spare instrumentals don't seem that different from PJ's own tortured meanderings, while Harvey's lyrics recall the self-abasement of Rid of Me rather than last year's coolly seductive To Bring You My Love. Expectations, however, were confounded.

Surrounded by what looked like a band of eclectic undertakers, Harvey was a relaxed supper-club chanteuse in a short cream shift. She's back on guitar, and the evening kicked in with an echoing take on Eno's "Here Come The Warm Jets". Poll closed black-shadowed eyes and opened a mouth like a Eurostar tunnel, and a chap beside me almost swooned. "Ah, she looks fantastic," he grimaced. "She's the greatest gay icon there can be. …