In Photos: PJ Harvey @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (08.09.11)
Polly Jean Harvey was clad in serene white on Tuesday night as she collected the second Mercury Prize of her distinguished career, this time for album number eight, the uncompromisingly brilliant Let England Shake. Last night in Manchester the singer cut an altogether more foreboding figure, dressed in mournful black from head to toe. Added to the frugal stage lighting and understated backing of her (excellent) band – not to mention the absence of any support act – the overall mood was one of solemn foreboding, more in keeping with the album's prevailing themes of war and brutality than with any hint of victory lap celebrations.
To the delight of a packed Apollo crowd, she delivered a near-flawless set that unsurprisingly drew heavily from LES, before returning for a three-song encore of oldies: 'Angelene', the opening track from 1998's Is This Desire? LP, along with 'The Piano' and 'Silence' from 2007's White Chalk. The truth is she could have played all night and no one would have complained, such is the level of this artist's (in the truest sense of that word) thoroughly-deserved popularity. Our photographer Duncan Elliott was on hand to capture some stunning shots of Ms. Harvey and co. from right up close – simply click on any of the thumbnails below to view a slideshow of his photos.