Portishead at PNE Forum, Vancouver, Oct 24 2011

Last night, Portishead reminded all music fans to never stop carrying a torch for your favorite artists – long after you’ve given them up for dead they can always surprise you.

Vocalist Beth Gibbon’s public battle with alcoholism, depression and paranoia kept her from touring North America for years and many PH fans on this side of the pond had completely given up hope. But a big surprise was in store for all who attended the PNE Forum Oct 24; even the cavernous smelly barn couldn’t kill the vibe that emanated from this timelessly classic three-piece British ensemble (who performed with a few back-up musicians).

With a polish that only comes from years of playing, writing and recording together and a sensitivity that can only come from age, experience and a truly creative spirit, this group impressed with both their vivacity and soul. Beth Gibbon’s strikingly melancholy voice and her visible emotional and physical fragility were set in sharp relief by her large band of energetic and strong male accomplices. Like having your heart wrenched from your body and ground into the dirty sidewalk, Portishead killed Vancouver Monday night, but it felt so good.

Credit: Ashley Tanasiychuk for The Snipe News

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