The Drum Media March Issue
Enmore Theatre 21/1/03 - Live Review

...But we are here for the main attraction, and she doesn't disappoint the faithful in any way, shape or form. The look has changed again, the sleek dangerous glamour of the last tour replaced by - tonight anyway - big perm, suede hotpants. She looks something like an extra in a 80's biker porn movie. The effect is heightened when her guitar has one of its seemingly regular falls out of tune, and Harvey's left standing on stage with nothing to hide behind, and reveals a nervous manner like she's asking herself why the hell she's here, dressed like this. This strange mix of absolutely confronting sexuality and West Country naiveté is one of the things that makes her so compelling.

She's in a musical middle-ground at the moment, too. The last tour was easier with a then current album to push, and Stories From The City's songs centred the show with a big band to reproduce them. Here, with just her, long-time drummer Robert Ellis, and the internationally ubiquitous Mick Harvey on bass, keyboards and anything else necessary, there is some rawness of her earlier work displayed. Even if she is a bit rusty, a bit shaky, early on.

But she is free to rip into songs from all over her career, easing through To Bring You My Love and launching into a lacerating 50ft Queenie about four songs in. She whispers, she screeches like a feral Kate Bush. Good Fortune comes in waves. We are offered a preview of what is to come next, the jungle drum throb of the perfectly titled Who The Fuck? It's more of that style of urban blues with a slash of red - which may just be the lipstick.

The Whores Hustle as they should, Man Size is bigger than that. The early technical glitches seem to have made things run that little late, and the theatre doors open for us and wipe off some of the sweat. But just as you think about heading to the Townie to share the afterglow, they return and crank up again, encouraging a rush back in from The Enmore Road. Rid Of Me has Ellis providing the muffled second vocal, higher than any guttural howl coming from the seemingly frail figure to his left. She drops her guitar to her side, and she and you are spent.

Ross Clelland