Mick Harvey @ Omeara – May 26th 2024
Mick Harvey @ Omeara – May 26th 2024

Live Review: Mick Harvey @ Omeara – May 26th, 2024

Mick Harvey may forever be best known for his association with Nick Cave as a founding member of both The Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds, but over the years he has proven to be quite formidable on his own as both a songwriter and as an interpreter of others’ songs. His latest album Five Ways to Say Goodbye, which came out last month, is being billed as his first solo album in over a decade. The math on that may be a little suspect (you’d have to discount two albums of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations, at the very least), but there’s no doubt that it’s one of his best so far.

Harvey recorded the album with a fairly stripped-back sound, foregoing the traditional rock instrumentation in favor of only his acoustic guitar and a string quartet backing him on most songs, placing his deep baritone vocals front and center. For the tour, he replicates this arrangement – touring with singer Amanda Acevedo (with whom he recorded an album of duets, Phantasmagoria in Blue, released last year) on backing and co-lead vocals, and recruiting a local string quartet to back them at each tour stop. His stop at Omeara in London, a surprisingly small and intimate club for an artist of his stature, was no exception.

Harvey played much of the new album, including originals (“At Heaven’s Gate,” “When We Were Beautiful and Young,” “The Art of Darkness”) and covers (notable among them, David McComb’s “Setting You Free,” Lee Hazelwood’s “Dirtnap Stories,” and Fatal Shore’s “We Had an Island”). He and Acevedo performed several tracks from their duet album, including a slow, somber version of Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.” They also performed Harvey’s versions of Mano Negra’s “Out of Time Man” (which gained fame when it appeared in the pilot of the series Breaking Bad) and Serge Gainsbourg’s “Bonnie and Clyde.”

The night was not without its hiccups. Harvey noted that he was on a borrowed guitar, as an airline had managed to misplace his, and he seemed to have some difficulty getting it to stay in tune. Halfway through the set one of his pedals decided to quit, making only a clicking sound when he tried to activate it. To his credit, Harvey dealt with these difficulties with humor (though the pedal seemed to irk him a bit as he tried it repeatedly several times throughout the set) and they ended up being only minor issues which had little impact on the performance. (What did we miss without the pedal? It’s not clear. But the set sounded still great without it, and that’s ultimately all that matters.)

Opening the show was Terry Edwards, a multi-instrumentalist known for his work with The Higsons, Gallon Drunk, and PJ Harvey. For this set, he played solo jazz interpretations of several songs from his extensive catalog.

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

Mick Harvey

Terry Edwards

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *