REVIEW: PATRICK WOLF LIVE

Words: Emily Ames

Images: Luke Jordan

At the Cockpit, amongst two large lit dollhouses stands Patrick Wolf in a shirt decorated with large wolf heads with a red military jacket harem pants, a scarf wrapped around the large collar and complete with diamante in-ear monitors. What looks like white and black ferret tails hangs from his microphone as his dramatic vocals and array of instruments encapsulate the crowd into following each lyric and movement with awe. Later changing into a white shirt with a huge stuffed owl attached to his shoulder with a leather strap, it would be easy to put down Wolf’s show stopping performance to his eccentricity. However, while camp theatrics play a role in his show, it is his creativity within his music and sheer musical skill that really impresses.

Patrick Wolf has created something truly beautiful in what could be a car crash combination of romantic folk, electronica and pop. At a low key venue like the cockpit, as lovely as it is to see an intimate gig with a man and his guitar, it was refreshing and uplifting to see a true performer and musician creating an exciting buzz amongst the audience as he flittered back and forth from his auto harp, ukelele, piano, and viola.

Old songs from earlier albums such as “Bloodbeat”, which was heavily requested in shouts between songs, and “Accident Emergency” play heavily with innovative electronic sounds. These experimental electronics in “To the lighthouse” were supported with heavy percussions and transformed with his female viola player’s romantic sounds. While his older tracks play on darkness and despair his new album Lupercalia exudes an optimism evident in the strong pop influence in songs such as “Time of my life” and “House”. Finally his single “the City” blew the crowd away with an up-tempo 80s style beat and an incredible solo from his female obo player.

Although the creative outfit choices and quirky 80s dance moves add flare to his performance, eccentricity doesn’t always achieve longevity. Instead of the stuffed bird on his shoulder, it is his innovative ability to combine the classical with the electronic along with his dramatic vocals and lyrics that keeps us watching to see what he will do next.

Patrick Wolf’s Lupercalia is on iTunes now. For updates follow http://www.patrickwolf.com/

Watch a live performance of “Time of my Life” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn0vieqyu7E&ob=av2n

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