Portishead

Reading time: 2 mins

After a fairly epic night out on Friday (why do I drink vodka shots when I don’t really like vodka…?), I was a little fuzzy round the edges on Saturday. I was also completely knackered having spent most of my week facilitating meetings, which is far more tiring than both it sounds and that I expected.

Frankly the thought of driving through to Edinburgh to stand in a crowd for a few hours wouldn’t have been my choice except for one reason. It was to hear Portishead, remember them? Two albums (three if you count the live one) and then.. nothing. Those two albums are part of my staple choice, my backup when I get bored and want something comfortable to listen to, music that I tend to have on in the background when I’m at home.

So when I heard (via a Twitter from Paul) that they were touring again I snapped up a ticket within the hour. The anticipation of seeing Portishead live, hearing THAT voice live started and I remember thinking that I needed not to let myself get too carried away, that it might not live up to the expectation I was setting in my head.

I was wrong. They were amazing.

It was one of those gigs that will forever change the way I listen to their music, it was one of those gigs that had moments when the entire place was silenced and in genuine awe of what they were hearing and watching, it was one of those gigs that you talk about with reverence in years to come.

It’s also one of those gigs that I’m struggling to capture with words. The way it veered from a ferocious assault to a genuinely heartfelt, lump in the throat moment, outlined their ability to deliver something much more than their album tracks. The way the atmosphere shifted through the gig, and how such a slight woman can hold a room of thousands in her hand and she rips emotions from within, delivering them with a snarl or a smile.

I’m wary that every gig is a good one, and that I take few risks when choosing which concerts I go to see, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect last night. I’ve held off writing this post to try and distant myself a little but I think I’ll stand by the Twitter message I frantically typed out, with slightly shaking hands, as I tumbled out of the venue. It may not be eloquent but it encapsulates my emotions at the time, and my feelings about the gig that still linger.

Pretty fuckin awesome.

7 comments

  1. I love Portishead – quite jealous of you right now. I’m eagerly awaiting their next album, coming out at the end of this month.

  2. Woops about the Vodka shots, and wow about the Portishead gig, wish I had bought myself a ticket now…

  3. Rob, they played a few tracks from it. It’s gonna be good!

    (hint: there are some unfinished tracks from it floating around the interwebs)

  4. Even though you say it’s difficult for you capture in words how the gig was, I think you did a pretty good job. I can certainly relate to some of the things you’ve said.
    I passed on the Portishead tickets this time. I love their previous albums and am genuinely looking forward to the new one, even so far as actively not looking for leaks on the Net. But I saw them live at Glastonbury one year. It was one of the years it pissed down all weekend, but hey….have to try not to let that dampen things. We stood, we waited, we waited some more…Finally they came on and I have to say they were rubbish. I wanted them to brilliant. I was expecting a fantastic show, particularly showcasing Beth’s voice. But no….awful. It might have just been an ‘off’ gig, but unfortunately that one stinker has stuck with me and put me off wanting to see them again. Your post has now changed my mind, so thank you.

  5. bedshaped – if I’m being completely honest the sound wasn’t always the greatest but overall it was great.

    It was also odd that they don’t really indulge in any banter with the crowd, but we managed to whip up a good atmosphere nevertheless!

  6. Pretty accurate review there, G. I’d heard mixed reports on their live shows, but I was expecting to enjoy the show… I wasn’t prepared for just how damn good they actually were though. Beth’s voice was flawless; and as for the new tracks… wow, just wow.

    Sorry I didn’t manage to catch you at the gig, we were mega late. We totally missed the support and had just enough time to grab a beer and squeeze into the hall as Portishead came on-stage.

    And aye… no banter, but the crowd completely loved them. Still, with a sound like that, who wouldn’t?

Comments are closed.