Monday, June 24, 2024

PJ Harvey Pays Tribute to Steve Albini at Primavera

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Artist dedicated “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” to Albini and performed two songs from Rid of Me, which he recorded

During her Primavera performance this past weekend, PJ Harvey paid tribute to late musician and recording engineer Steve Albini, dedicating a rendition of Uh Huh Her’s “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” to him. “I would like to sing this next song in memory of Steve Albini,” she said. “Steve should have been here for this festival and it would be nice if we all think of him for this song.”

The audience quietly took in the song, which she played by herself with only an acoustic guitar before strapping on a Stratocaster to perform “Man-Size,” a song that appeared on Rid of Me, the 1993 PJ Harvey album that Albini recorded. The Primavera arrangement combined elements of the raw, grungy version on the album and some of the orchestral flourishes of “Man-Size Sextet,” a different version of the tune that featured a string quartet. The set also included a rendition of “50ft. Queenie,” which also appeared on Rid of Me.


Albini’s band, Shellac, was scheduled to perform at the Spanish festival. The band had performed at every installment of the festival since 2007, so Primavera named a stage in his honor. “The Steve Albini stage, situated opposite the Plenitude stage, will be a tribute to an irreplaceable member of the Primavera family, although he will, in fact, be honoured in every inch of the Parc del Fòrum, during every second of the festival,” a festival statement said.

Harvey recently told The Guardian how much working with Albini had meant to her after she had fallen in love with the sound of Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, which he recorded. “He was driven,” she said of the Rid of Me sessions. “Driven to explore and learn from sound and space, but also mysteriously aligned with it in a way I didn’t quite understand, but knew to respect and try to learn from. He was an alchemist: patient, methodical, sensitive. Ready to capture the moment when it came. Work was hard and long as we all reached for something he knew would appear, and it did.”

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