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PNYC
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Performer Notes
  • Portishead: Beth Gibbons (vocals); Adrian Utley (guitar, Moog synthesizer); Geoff Barrow (drums, DJ).
  • Additional personnel includes: Israel Chorberg, Richard Clark (violin); Alfred Brown(viola); Stephanie Susie Katayama (cello); Ben Waghorn (alto flute, alto & tenor saxophones); Will Gregory (oboe, baritone saxophone); Dave Ford, Andy Hague (trumpet, flugelhorn); John Cornick (trombone); John Baggott (keyboards); Jim Barr, Jeffry Carney, David Finck, John Miller (bass); Clive Deamer (drums, percussion); Andy Smith (DJ).
  • Engineers: Dave Hewitt, Sean McClintock, Phil Gitomer.
  • Recorded live at Roseland Ballroom, New York, New York on July 24, 1997; The Quart Festival, Kristiansand, Denmark on July 3, 1998; The Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, California on April 1, 1998.
  • PNYC captures Bristol, England's Portishead live, a situation which presents a particular challenge to a band so closely associated with studio experimentation. Portishead's sound, however, is built around the otherworldly vocals of Beth Gibbons, who immediately dispels any notion that such a performance needs to have anything canned about it. The spontaneity is helped along by a stunning palette of guitars, which combine with the the band's imaginative turntable work to create a thrilling, bombastic and unpredictable live experience.
  • PNYC opens up with the swell of a string section, and quickly dissolves into the menacing, orchestrated strains of "Humming," over which Gibbons gives a stirring vocal performance, every bit as spontaneous as the rhythmic scratching which weaves in and out of the song's organ-based backdrop. "Over" features a particularly seductive voice-guitar intro, which mutates into an epic, gargantuan bass-synth groove. Guitar textures are, in fact, a prominent feature throughout PNYC, notably on the rocked-up, tremolo-soaked six-string that dominates the live version of the band's signature tune, "Sour Times."
Professional Reviews
Spin (12/98, p.179) - "...explores the virtues of seeing truly elegant wallpaper in concert..."

Entertainment Weekly (11/27/98, p.84) - "...With a 30-piece horn and string section, the group pumps up its cloistered fretting to an epic scale here. Chanteuse Beth Gibbons is downright fierce, while Adrian Utley's gnashing guitar pushes her love laments deep into Fatal Attraction territory..."

- Rating: A-

Muzik (12/98, p.68) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...takes their shadowy operation to the next level....Stumble over this way and tune in to the ecstacy of the agony."
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