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Ed Harcourt: “I’m Ed Harcourt and I’m not a Fuckin’ Whore!”

Posted by March 31st, 2005 No Comments »

ALive & Kicking – Ed Harcourt
March 24, Tractor Tavern in Seattle
By Julie “J-Bo” Borovik

I’ll admit it up front and right away, I’m an Ed Harcourt Rookie. But after hearing a couple cuts off his latest release Strangers on KEXP, his music had piqued my interest enough to want to check him out live.

So on March 24, armed with the two Harcourt songs I knew the words to and my entourage of one, I went to the Tractor Tavern for an intimate evening with Mr. Harcourt.

My entourage quickly noted that Harcourt is quite “dreamy,” to look at, and well, I have to concur. With the lyrical wit of Lloyd Cole and vocals that marry the best of Tom Waits and Nick Drake, we also weren’t disappointed with his musical performance. Even though Harcourt, flying solo for the entire show, stumbled through his first couple of songs (including one of the two I knew, “Born in the 70’s”), he hit his stride not long after. Alternating between guitar and keyboards, with a fair amount of whining over the sound quality of the keys, Harcourt played a solid hour and a half set with a one-song encore. My only complaint, he didn’t play the second song I knew “The Storm is Coming.”

Now I wouldn’t call Harcourt a high-energy performer, but Jesus who could be after that many shots of Jaeger? His delivery varied little from ballads such as “Something in My Eye” to the slightly more upbeat “She Fell into My Arms,” but it didn’t appear anyone was complaining. With the venue only half full (save the annoying table of talkers at the back), Harcourt did a good job of reeling us all in with his masterful melodic meanderings. His undeniable talent lies clearly in his command of the keys. Which isn’t to say strumming was lacking by any means, but the mastery of his songs was clearly demonstrated when he was seated at the keyboard, which according to Harcourt is nothing compared to what he can do with a Baby Grand.

Would I see him again? You bet, I want to see what he can do with a backup band and his instrument of choice.

Long story short, Ed Harcourt is playing at the Tractor again Thursday March 31; it’s worth the $8 bucks. If you don’t care for the music, you’ll at least enjoy the barrage of complaints, obscenities and anecdotes (including the “I’m Not a Fucking Whore” quote that became this review’s title) delivered with panache, as only a drunken Englishman could.

Note: Ed Harcourt’s Seattle residency continues tonight (March 31) with another show at the Tractor Tavern, then again a week later (that’s April 7 for the calenderically challenged) at the Sunset Tavern.  


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