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PJ Harvey closes Iceland Airwaves with career spanning set

07 November 2016, 12:35 | Written by Thomas Hannan

PJ Harvey’s first ever concert in Reykjavik brought the 2016 edition of Iceland Airwaves to a poignant and visceral close with a set at Valshöllin that drew from across her three decade career.

Entering the stage with a foreboding military march that ushered in “Chain of Keys”, the night was characterised by an emphasis on percussion and brass, with huge bass drums emblazoned with the artwork to this year’s war memoir The Hope Six Demolition Project flanking the band - who featured long time collaborator John Parish and former Bad Seed Mick Harvey - throughout, and an animated Harvey eschewing the guitar entirely in favour of the saxophone.

Though the 20 song set drew heavily on her most recent record, Icelandic fans catching their first glimpse of Harvey in their home country were treated to a setlist that featured cuts from across her catalogue, from the delicate beauty of White Chalk’s “The Devil” to “Down by the Water” and the title track from To Bring You My Love.

The night’s real highlights however were renditions of Let England Shake material such as “The Words That Maketh Murder” and “The Glorious Land” - very much positioning that record as a late career classic - and a thunderous tear through early gem “50ft Queenie” that reminds us of the punk heart that still beats within this now most elegant of performers.

PJ Harvey Setlist from Iceland Airwaves

Chain of Keys
The Ministry of Defence
The Community of Hope
The Orange Monkey
A Line in the Sand
Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
The Glorious Land
Written on the Forehead
To Talk to You
Dollar, Dollar
The Devil
The Wheel
The Ministry of Social Affairs
50ft Queenie
Down by the Water
To Bring You My Love
River Anacostia


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