PJ Harvey @ Princes Wharf 1, Hobart (Sat 21 Jan 2012)
When PJ Harvey announced this tour, we were quite excited. My wife is a huge fan, and I’d heard good things about her new album, Let England Shake. We’d been talking for some time about going down to Hobart to see the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), and this seemed the perfect opportunity as she was playing a gig as part of MONA FOMA, which is an annual festival put on by the gallery (although not actually AT the gallery).
Tickets were purchased and flights and hotels were booked. Fabulous.
We flew down on the Saturday morning and after getting to the hotel and wandering around a bit, we set off for MONA. The reason I mention this, is that we saw PJ Harvey there checking out the gallery as well, which a lovely surprise. That lady is BEAUTIFUL.
After an excellent dinner at the pub across the road from the venue, we trundled in. The show itself was brilliant. The crowd was not. It was, dare-I-say, embarrassing.
A friend of mine had seen PJ Harvey at The Regent in Melbourne a few nights prior, and was gushing at how great the show was, how brilliantly suited the venue was, and how respectful the audience was. For this show, all I could say was that PJ and her band played stupendously. Everything else was terrible.
The venue was a cavernous box that had little or no acoustics, and the audience couldn’t stop talking. It was as if they had no idea how to react to an international artist touring to their dinky little city. I’m sure I’ll piss a few people off by saying it, but is Hobart that small and backward? Turns out, many of the residents think so. After the show we had a few drinks, and got to chatting to a few Hobartians. The main thing that was mentioned in EVERY conversation (and not by us), was how bad the audience were. A few of the locals were saying that generally, bigger bands don’t tour to Tasmania, and if they do, it’s with a festival like Falls, where talking and yahooing throughout a show is to be expected. Seems the upshot was that indeed, people just didn’t know how to behave. I’m only too aware of how much of a pompous fuckwit I sound when I say that, but it really was the truth. The crowd were acting like they were at a Screaming Jets cover show.
Anyway- enough of that.
PJ Harvey and her band played everything from Let England Shake, as well as a few older songs. There wasn’t a lot of talk from the band through the set (unlike the audience), but they did sound excellent, considering what they were up against.
Since being to that show, I love the Let England Shake album that much more, and will definitely be seeing her next time she tours to Australia. But not in Hobart.
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