Saturday, June 13, 2009
I was lucky enough to catch Patrick Wolf in his only US acoustic performance this year. Entitled "An Evening With Patrick Wolf," the show was held at La Poisson Rouge in New York City on May 6th, 2009, a tiny, intimate venue. There was much disorganization in crowd control, whereby people who'd been waiting all day weren't let in first. I can't say much for the staff's organization and consideration, but that's not what this review is about. It's about Patrick Wolf, and he definitely gave it his all.
Patrick spent as nearly as much time talking as playing, and while you might think the audience would resent that, they loved it. It was a true give and take, as if we were truly spending an evening with Patrick rather than watching a performance. He gave the audience background stories about the songs he sang, the instruments he used, his past experiences on tour, and his life in general. He seemed totally at ease with himself and the audience, taking requests and responding to comments. He even introduced his aunt, who was attending the show, explaining that he was trying to be a bit more modest in this show as he had family present.
Indeed, Patrick kept his stylishly outlandish clothes on the entire show, apparently a rarity for him, and went from piano to violin to dulcimer with unconscious ease. You knew you were in the presence of rare musical genius. He pours his heart into every note he plays or sings, and the audience was entranced.
Patrick performed songs from all his releases, sounding in top form. His music is quirky and different; if he chose to go 'mainstream' he'd clearly have no problems achieving success. But Patrick Wolf is unique, to say the least. He plays what he wants, and his fans love him for it.
I attended another Patrick Wolf show, this time in Hollywood at the Roxy on June 9th 2009. This venue is even smaller than La Poisson Rouge, but with a much different, less intimate feel. The crowd was standing room only, and Patrick was there with the Nylon Magazine Summer Tour. He played last, and came out an hour and a half later than the announced set time. I don't know what the issue was, technical or otherwise, and no explanation or apology was offered by anyone. The crowd was understandably restive (and damn sweaty) by the time Patrick went on, but as soon as he took the stage dressed in a black and white version of the Union Jack and a great deal of glitter, all was forgiven.
This was a much different show than the NYC show. Patrick's full backing band was there and plugged in, and Patrick was clearly ready to rock. He threw himself into every number, singing his heart out to the rapt audience, making eye and hand contact constantly.
The audience sang along to every word, gazing up at Patrick with clear adoration, and he ate it up. He sweated as much as the audience, strutting and stalking around the stage as if he owned it. Patrick's confidence and his musical brilliance is compelling, and it's hard to take your eyes off him.
Plugged or unplugged, acoustic or electric, Patrick Wolf is something special. He's making a go of it without major label support and I for one hope he succeeds.
Posted by Jade at 11:04 PM