Patrick Wolf Live

24 11 2009

Sunday Night at the London Palladium

Sunday November 15, 2009

My first gig at this famous London Theatre since Kate Bush in 1979. Though I might have seen a family musical about a big flying car at this venue a few years back. Moving swiftly on.

In fact, parallels could be drawn between both these shows and Patrick Wolf’s performance. Fair enough, there were no child-catchers or flying cars in the Wolf show, but the performance really had a feel of musical theatre, with plenty of costume changes, glitter and atmospheric lighting.

I think Kate Bush is certainly an influence on Patrick’s music, particularly in some of the arrangements. Kate made good use of the large stage back in 1979, and so did Patrick in 2009. The first three-quarters of the show was remarkably restrained and intimate, with Patrick’s vocals really given the chance to breathe.

Highlights of the first half of the set included two of my favourite Wolf songs, Wind In The Wires & the haunting Bluebells.

“Deep in this dream
I let the calmness keep spinning”

Thickets from 2009’s The Bachelor made full use of the accompanying musicians, expanded on the night to to include a choir and string section.

“Just a little further up the hill boy
you’ll be home soon enough”

And then came the promised guest appearance. Marc Almond was unable to perform due to illness, and Patrick kind of gave the identity of the guest away on his Myspace blog “I’m sure my amazing duettist will raise it up! If you know what I mean.” So it was no surprise to see Florence Welch (without her Machine) duetting with Patrick on The Bachelor.

Patrick Wolf & Florence Welch at the London Palladium - by Ravenblakh
Patrick Wolf & Florence Welch

German techno uber-lord Alec Empire brought his box of many synths and trailing wires onto the stage for Battle & Hard Times. The latter song saw the whole crowd rise to their feet, where they remained for the majority of the evening.

The lush, string-driven forthcoming single Damaris was surely made to be performed in an ornate venue such as the London Palladium. The delicate The Sun Is Often Out was dedicated to two departed friends, and the show ended on a real high-note, with the decadent electro-pulse of Vulture, featuring Wolf spinning under a glitter-ball, adorned in sequins and looking like he had stepped straight out of Velvet Goldmine.

A clearly emotional Wolf kept referring to this show as being the best he had ever performed, and how he found it hard to believe that he was headlining the venue after being turned away from the Palladium 10 years ago, where as a teenager, he had had hoped to review a Bjork show.

Patrick Wolf performs "Vulture" at the London Palladium - by Ravenblakh
Patrick Wolf performs “Vulture”

The was a real air of celebration at this gig, and a feeling that Patrick Wolf is shifting up a gear. If finances permit, I’m sure Patrick will want to use strings again in a live setting, as it brought a real depth to the live show. Heres to 2010, a new album and more shows of this quality.

“The Boy is doing fine”

Set-list

Divine Intervention / Overture / Wolfsong / Wind In the Wires
Oblivion / Paris / Thesus / Who Will / The Shadowsea / Bluebells
Pigeon Song / Thickets / The Bachelor / Epilogue / Count Of Casualty
Battle / Hard Times / Libertine / Damaris / Tristan / Eulogy
Magic Position / The Sun Is Often Out / Vulture

All pictures on this page © Ravenblakh

To see the full set of Ravenblakh’s pictures of
Patrick Wolf at  London Palladium please visit Flickr

Patrick Wolf CD’s on Amazon UK
The Bachelor
The Magic Position
Wind in the Wires
Lycanthropy





Blue Roses – Moments Before Sleep

7 09 2009

Blue Roses debut album (2009)

One of the best debut albums I have heard in a long, long time. A virtually beat-free album, with layered vocals, underpinned with acoustic guitar, piano and electronics, and hints of folk music.  Laura Groves aka Blue Roses is from Shipley, and there several tracks, such as Can’t Sleep and Coast that could only really come from West Yorkshire.
The albums standout tracks is “I Wish I…” (if this track doesn’t melt your heart, you are made of stone). Just piano and voice, and a string quartet towards the middle of the song, this is one of those songs that could have been recorded at any time in the past thirty years, its untouched by technology, and is all the betetr for it.
“But when he touched my hand like it was gold,
Well I want to pull away and say,
“Look, it’s only…well it’s only made from plain old skin and bone”
The Kate Bush comparisons are an easy (but valid) reference point, but Blue Roses have none of the theatrics of Kate Bush’s early work, and live performances are all about the music, which is powerful and emotive.
Rebecca is the only song to feature electric guitar and percussion, and breaks up the album with its discordant opening, but then the magic kicks in and the song goes to another place.
“Let me sit and watch you working, I won’t be a pain.
You will not notice me at all.”
The album was apparently recorded on a shoestring, with studio-time, borrowed grand pianos and choirs from the local pub, all grabbed when they were available, not that you can tell. There’s a real warmth and clarity to the songs on this album, and the constant touring and support of Radio 2 will hopefully raise the albums profile over the coming months.
The direction of the next album release will be interesting, as recordings released after this album was recorded point to a different direction, with less acoustic guitar and more experimentation with different production techniques.  Single “b” side (is there such a thing anymore, in the digital age?) Moments Before Sleep is a lo-fi wonder, but as magical as anything on the album.  The most recent recording released was an enchanting cover of The Beatles Golden Slumbers from Mojo magazine’s Abbey Road Now compilation.
Greatest Thoughts
Cover Your Tracks
I Am Leaving
Can’t Sleep
I Wish I…
Coast
Does Anyone Love Me Now?
Doubtful Comforts
Rebecca
Imaginary Flights
XLCD 411 UK Release April 2009 / US Release July 2009

One of the best debut albums I have heard in a long, long time. A virtually beat-free album, with layered vocals, underpinned with acoustic guitar, piano and electronics, and subtle hints of folk.

Laura Groves aka Blue Roses is from Shipley, and there are several tracks, such as Can’t Sleep and Coast that could only really come from West Yorkshire.

The albums standout track is I Wish I… (if this song doesn’t melt your heart, you are made of stone). Starting off with just piano and voice, and adding a string quartet towards the middle, this is one of those songs that could have been recorded at any time in the past thirty years.

I Wish I… is untouched by technology, and is all the better for it.

“But you’ve got your eye on the door.
This is what my life is for.
I’ll pray that you won’t drop your anchor here.”

The Kate Bush comparisons are an easy (but valid) reference point, but Blue Roses have none of the theatrics of Kate Bush’s early work, and live performances are all about the music, which is powerful and emotive.

Rebecca is the only song to feature electric guitar and percussion, and breaks up the album with its discordant opening, but then the magic kicks in and the song heads off to another place.

“Let me sit and watch you working, I won’t be a pain.
You will not notice me at all.”

The album was apparently recorded on a shoestring, with studio-time, borrowed grand pianos and choirs from the local pub, all grabbed when they were available, not that you can tell. There’s a real warmth and clarity to the songs on this album, and the constant touring and support of Radio 2 will hopefully raise the albums profile over the coming months.

The direction of the next album will be interesting, as the recordings released after this debut was recorded point to a different direction, with less acoustic guitar and more experimentation with production techniques.  Single “b” side (is there such a thing anymore, in the digital age?) Moments Before Sleep is a lo-fi wonder, but easily as magical as anything on the album.  The most recent Blue Roses recording released was an enchanting cover of  The Beatles Golden Slumbers from Mojo magazine’s Abbey Road Now compilation.

Tracklisting:
Greatest Thoughts / Cover Your Tracks / I Am Leaving / Can’t Sleep /
I Wish I… / Coast / Does Anyone Love Me Now? / Doubtful Comforts /
Rebecca / Imaginary Flights

Lyrics quoted © Blue Roses
XLCD 411 UK Release April 2009 / US Release July 2009

Buy Blue Roses on Amazon UK
Buy Blue Roses on Amazon US








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