Patrick Wolf at Village Underground
Known for blending baroque and electro-pop, Patrick Wolf returns with his first tour after a long hiatus. The multi-instrumentalist appears on stage slightly later than scheduled, but is visibly joyful throughout, displaying a natural rapport with fans.
Howling wolf sounds echo, setting off the first of many tracks featured tonight, both old and new, with a backdrop reminiscent of Picasso’s Weeping Woman, lit up alternately in neon outlines. Wolf appears like a Victorian highwayman, complete with lantern in hand. Iridescent piano notes invite us into sweeping melodies in Enter the Day, blending perfectly with electric guitar, cello, and what looks like a bowed psaltery. The combination of all these instruments, alongside electronic violin and drums, works wonderfully in harmony, particularly in Overture, which is very reminiscent of Tears for Fears’s Mad World, and undoubtedly a highlight, Wolf’s vocals solid and displaying his full range. Snippets of context add value and humour to the performance, cementing the musician’s connection with his audience. An understated beauty, The Days is incredibly moving, wrought with emotionally driven lyrics and stunning string sections; it leads us to Dodona, another soft-hued melody, recalling traditional Gaelic tunes, that revolves around Wolf’s travels to Greece.
Humbled by the response to his set tonight, the artist modestly appreciates the crowd. Originated as a baritone ukulele solo, Don’t Say No is one of many songs that get everyone singing and dancing with joy. Although the balance is too heavy on the bass, particularly in the second half, which sets hearts, ears and teeth on edge, the overall concert is curated and performed well. Punctuated by animalistic vivacity, Tristan keeps fans buoyant, while Wolf gesticulates to the drummer to play softly during Accident and Emergency. At one point he throws a couple of fabric birds’ wings into the cheering crowd, their souvenir of a memorable comeback from one of the most original musicians working today.
Wolf finishes off with The Night Safari, To the Lighthouse and Together, the latter a perfect moment to introduce the band, uniting all. Having been producing music for the last two decades, the singer thanks everyone, clearly moved as he charmingly tells the audience they are “more lovely than I remembered”.
Photos: Martina Antonia Liberini
For further information and future events visit Patrick Wolf’s website here.
Watch the video for The Bowline Knot (feat, The Night Safari and Nowhere Game) here: