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”


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

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