After stumbling across his recent third album The Magic Position earlier this year I've been converted to Patrick Wolf's exquisite music. I managed to catch him live at Reading Festival this summer where he and his band blew me away despite a cramped tent and some dodgy acoustics. This was the first date on a solo tour, meaning I got to watch him flit between piano, violin (or maybe it was a viola) and ukulele to turn his grand creations into different, but still rather special acoustic pieces. He entered from the rear of the church (a peculiar but oddly suitable venue) playing his violin as he made his way to the stage, a great way to fully grab the audiences attention and to shock them into silence. His set incorporated songs from all three of his albums including The Libertine and a fantastic rendition of my personal favourite Augustine, showing off his fabulous and ethereal vocal talents.
Few solo artists can manage to stand out from the crowd and do something genuinely different but Patrick does thanks to sublime songwriting and his quirky and upbeat performances. Watching from the balcony provided the curious sight of a darkened church lit up by the camera phones of the pseudo-trendy attendees who, rather than actually taking in the full experience of the gig, filmed the occasion for diluted future viewings. Strange.
Patrick didn't really attempt to connect with the audience, giving the impression of someone not entirely comfortable with public performance. Sometimes I find this can make a performance somewhat cold, but the strength of his music and rapturous applause from the mesmerised audience meant this wasn't the case. Support came from Lightspeed Champion aka Dev formally of Test Icicles who played a selection of fledgling acoustic guitar tracks. He joined Patrick for a lively encore of standout album title track The Magic Position to conclude a well crafted and executed set.
By Alan Smith
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