“I wonder what PJ Harvey’s internal monologue is like,” my girlfriend said as we drove home from the Trocadero Sunday, June 7. Given the frenetic, free-spirited dancing, toothy grins, and incredibly disturbed discussions we’d just witnessed courtesy of the British alt-rock icon, it was a fair question. After several years away from the City of Brotherly Shove,
Not that the night started out too hot. Acoustic opening act Pop Parker took to the stage an hour after doors opened and sucked for 29 minutes. Ostensibly a tongue-in-cheek acoustic troubadour, his profanity-laden tales of ribaldry, underscored by soothing acoustic guitar, stopped being funny after his sound check. Gustave Flaubert, he is not. Stand-out lyrics included “She smokes cigars / and knows things about cars” and “He has a mustache / whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa.”
Once the headliner began, though, the crowd erupted in joyous applause. Parish and his three-man backing band emerged in stylish suits and fedora hats. His partner in six-strings, Giovanni Ferrario (best name ever?), even rocked the same sunburst-colored Fender guitar. Barefoot and bearing a black dress,
It quickly became clear that the group could not fail. Though
The group successfully worked in more quiet tunes as well. “Passionless, Pointless,” about a failing relationship, was just as heart-rending live as on record. “Leaving
But when “The Soldier” ended, there was plenty of applause to go around. Speaking of the audience, those gathered were polite yet excited, scoring beaming yet reserved smiles from Harvey and Parish (They are British after all). There was no too-cool posturing here; everyone clearly wanted a piece of the PJ. One particular silver-haired fan wearing a light blue golf shirt stood out among the crowd; I like to think that his loud voice, clear through all the cheers after the regular set, is what galvanized the band into an encore. This guy got some applause of his own, so great were his pipes. I don’t know what that man does for a living, but he deserves a raise.
I try to avoid shit-talking concertgoers – it’s too personal and specific to really sum up the show overall – but it’s worth pointing out a balding, portly fellow in a yellow golf shirt and sandals who seemed to bother just about everyone at the front of the Troc’s stage. Seemingly alone for the night, he cut through to the front with little regard for those around him. And while being the big guy who blocks people’s view is merely annoying, this asshole earned his d-bag award when he left, then came back five or 10 minutes later to fight the short woman who took his “spot,” as if he had claim over the standing room space in front of the stage. Her boyfriend showed up later to keep this guy in line. In the unlikely event that he’s reading this review, hey baldy, fuck you. To that woman: You’re an American hero and deserve a raise as well.
One jerk out of hundreds of good natured folk makes for good odds, though. These pleasant people made