Artist on Artist: Night Talks’ Soraya Sebghati reviews PJ Harvey

pj harvey greek

Soraya Sebghati is the powerful singer from L.A. indie rock band Night Talks. She’s got a classic-sounding voice that’s stamped all over their debut record In Dreams, which dropped earlier this year. Soraya was at the Greek Theatre last week to see PJ Harvey, and I wanted to get the thoughts on one talented young singer seeing an iconic one in person.

You can catch Night Talks at the Play Like a Girl one-year anniversary show this Saturday at The Echo and Echoplex, along with Kitten, Smoke Season, and many other female-fronted acts. Read Soraya’s take on the PJ Harvey show below!

 

The first PJ Harvey song I ever heard was “Big Exit,” off the album Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea.

I was about 16 years old, eight years deep into my obsession with becoming a musician, and I was so electrified by her. The only other singer I had heard who I could identify with was Fiona Apple. PJ has a thick, low, syrupy voice, with the capability to destroy anyone and anything. Since that fateful February day, I’ve been hooked.

May 12 was a day I’d been looking forward to for a while. I’d seen PJ Harvey play at Coachella 2011, so six years was a long time to wait. Though I did get to see her on May 10 in Riverside, I was particularly excited for the show at the Greek Theatre because it was my first time seeing her in my hometown of Los Angeles.

She did not disappoint. Polly Jean Harvey is a pint-sized powerhouse of a woman. She and her band, made up of long time collaborators like Alain Johannes and Mick Harvey, powered through a 19-song set of mostly new material. They performed a majority of her latest album, Hope Six Demolition Project, and it was amazing to see those songs performed live.

I particularly enjoyed getting to see PJ play the hell out of her saxophone. Throughout the first 10 songs she also played hits such as “Let England Shake” and “When Under Ether.” By song 14, she got every person at the Greek out of their seats by going right into a rousing rendition of “50 Ft Queenie.” Everyone remained standing as she then went into “Down by the Water” and “To Bring You My Love.” The show went by almost too quickly, only because she and the whole band sounded so good.

Her voice still sounds as perfect as it always has, and it was an immense pleasure to see someone that I look up to so much do her thing, amazingly, live. And even though I didn’t get to see her perform “Big Exit” this time around, trust me, it still felt full circle for me.