Firstly, I'm sorry to say this, but A Hawk And A Hacksaw are among the worst support acts I've ever stood through. The crowd were more than respectful to them, but it wasn't the best 45 minutes I've ever wasted at 'the barrier'.
But that's beside the point. It's been nigh on 11 years since I last saw Portishead live, so last night at the Apollo was pretty special. It's amazing how little has changed - Beth hasn't changed a bit, Adrian seems to have gained a bit of weight but that's about it.
It was a great performance, if a little brief, and I've never heard the sound so good there. Nice to hear all the old stuff (who knew I'd be so glad to hear 'Cowboys' which I previously thought of as something of an act of sonic terrorism) and it was a nice new arrangement of Wandering Star - the rest of the evening was pretty much as on record. The new stuff is growing on me - slowly, but the crowd gave Machine Gun a good reaction. When "Mysterons" started, it's fair to say they went nuts.
Beth's an amazing vocalist but not the most charismatic frontwoman, and her stage fright still shows. She seemed incapable of anything more than apologies for her silence between songs. The lighting was subdued, and she never ventured more than a third of the way to the front of the stage. Good projections - very good use of the single handheld camera at the front of the stage.
I'll be glad to see them again on Sunday in Wolverhampton - I'll be over the "Bloody hell, that's Portishead!" factor and watch the show a little more objectively, maybe.
-- Encore Break --
We Carry On
Bjork tomorrow, also at the Apollo. A bit of trepidation about this one - I've always felt I should like her more than I actually do, but have never previously had the chance to see her live. I'm hoping she does some of the older stuff (Army Of Me et al) but I'll take it as it comes.