A couple of weeks ago, Ruby and I fulfilled another of our teenage desires(I was going to say dreams and now all I can think of is Katy Perry and herridiculous whipped cream bikini), by attending Patrick Wolf's Melbourne'Acoustic' show at the Forum II. Did you know that the Forum had a II? BecauseI didn't, and now I think I like it even more than Forum I!
Ruby and I had both been fans, nay, devotees Patrick Wolf, and now thatshe's back in Melbourne again I don't have to go to all these 'nostalgia' showson my own. Hooray!
Now before I launch into the almost overwhelming wonder of this gig, I willsay a little bit about the support, Brous, because I really, really liked them.I liked them so much in fact that I bought their EP on the way out!
It might have had a little bit to do with the way she was dressed (all in blackwith a fan shaped headdress), but as soon as Sophia Brous began to sing,accompanied by autoharp, I couldn't shake the feeling thatthis music was travelling through time, either from the bohemian squalor of anAnne Rice-esque New Orleans, or some elaborate steampunk pirate ship. I thinkit also had something to do with their obscure choice of instruments, includingbassoon, harmonium and autoharp. And the gorgeous little folk song that Sophiasang, acapella and in a language completely foreign to me, whilst drumming the beats out against her chest with her hands.It was wonderful, enough to make me spend $10 on music instead of cider.
Apart from perhaps dear Tori, I am yet to find an artist that I have managedto stick with through as many transformations as Patrick Wolf. Since his firstalbum Lycanthropy (an album which still gives me the creeps in the bestpossible way) in 2003, Patrick has been reborn in the eyes of his audience amany number of times, from angry youth railing wildly against the city he ranaway to, to brooding journeyman traipsing across the English countryside withhis tweed, his ukulele and his violin, searching for a place to rest, to aflamboyant bird of paradise adorned in sequins and feathers and golden hairextensions, strutting and leaping about the stage.
I have songs that I love from every album he has put out, despite theirvarying themes and sounds. I would just as easily recommend Paris as I wouldBermondsey St, or Teignmouth as I would the Magic Position. And so this waspossibly the best tour that I could choose to go and see him perform for thefirst time; the fact that is was 'acoustic' levelled the playing field, andallowed each song come forth from its place in his vast, diverse career, and beplayed in it's basest, and in my opinion, most beautiful form.
This set was a culmination of all the things I love about Patrick Wolf; his baritonevoice, the depth of which can stir many a sleeping memory or forgotten desire,his multi-instrumental talents (instruments he played included piano, violin,harp, guitar, ukulele, drum, some of them alongside each other with the use ofloop pedals), and his cheeky, almost boyish charm. As he played, I was remindedof my borderline obsession with his first two albums in my teenage years, andthe deep appreciation and joy I felt for his new works, specifically his mostrecent offering, Lupercalia. The clarity of the harp, the stirring of the grandpiano, the drum beat that beat and looped and beat again, created such anintricate framework of acoustic performance, so that the songs themselves wouldunfold like flowers.
The set itself was not without flaws; a couple of technical difficultieshere, a couple of forgotten words or bars of music there. But they were allhandled by Patrick with grace and humour, with a shy laugh and a cheeky smilethat would have made my knees weaken had I been sixteen again. It reminded usthat although they were almost painfully beautiful creations, these songs weremade by a human, and this human is not perfect; and isn't it our flaws thatmake us interesting.
Highlights: Overture (he opened with this, and I really truly couldhave honestly died because I had dreamed of hearing this song live ever sincehearing it for the first time as the opening for the Magic Position),Teignmouth, Tristen, Paris, Wind in the Wires, Armistice, House, Wolf Song,Bluebells
He also seems to have moved away from the glitter and golden hair extensions,in favour of shirts with ballooning sleeves, suspenders and a solid wreath ofgolden olive branches. I'm not going to lie, I am rather thankful for it. I love wildling Patrick the most.