What a better way to prepare for Christmas festivities than an acoustic concert immersed in the enchanted atmosphere of London’s Union Chapel? When the concert is by one of the most interesting British talents of the last 10 years, then you can’t expect but an unforgettable night.
Patrick Wolf didn’t fail expectations when on December 21 he delivered top quality entertainment using acoustic instruments that these days aren’t easy to be seen and heard all together on one stage during the same show. In case there were any doubts, Wolf masters the art of making and playing music as few popstars of his age do. During his 90 minutes show, he alone played harp, electric violin, ukulele, synths, piano and even the theremin while delivering astonishing vocal performances. They say the test for real talent is in live shows: great musicians should sound better live than on CD. If that’s the case, well, this 30 y.o. boy from Bermondsey must be a phenomenon, and yet he seems quite down to earth and shy (read here our interview to him).
Accompanied by accordion, harp, double bass, classic violin and clarinet, Wolf opened the show with the introspective Souvenirs, followed by the wandering rhythms of The Gipsy King from his album Wind In The Wires. There seems to be no specific pattern in his tours, as every show presents a different set list, which makes him even more an unpredictable, really independent artist.
With Demolition the show opened the doors to the more electronic side of the artist, while the audience was still in a quiet, almost in-a-trance mood, until it’s time for the ethereal Armistice, an occasion for the British singer to show off his deep powerful vocals.
Teignmouth – one of Wolf’s best compositions – was next only to anticipate one of the few dancing moments of the show with the techo-pop rhythms of Together, the proof that he’s obviously fully capable of writing music for the masses.
With The Sun Is Often Out the show reached its top touching moment, Wolf looking sincerely moved to tears as his deep silky voice sang the song he wrote in memory of friend and English poet Stephen Vickery, who committed suicide aged 27. The song title, taken from the album The Bachelor, is inspired by a collection of poems handwritten by Vickery.
The rest of the show resulted into a crescendo after an acoustic version of Damaris, which – as explained by Wolf in his in-between-songs speech, narrates the story of a girl, probably a gypsy or a black girl, who fell in love with a vicar’s son, but he had to stop loving her because of her religion. It is said she died of a ‘broken heart’ which in those days was another word for suicide. The song is from the point of view of the vicar’s son. During the speech, the English singer took his chance to show his – we must say highly due – disrespect to the Roman Catholic Church.
The second half of the show presented a list of more popular hits such as Hard Times, which had the audience finally standing up and dancing to the happy rhythms and light melodies of Magic Position.
After two encores, it was time to say goodbye: Wolf sitting at his piano alone on stage, delivering a heart-felt version of Joni Mitchell’s River was the perfect ending to a perfect show that stays in the back of your head for a long time.
COMPLETE SET LIST:
The Gypsy King
Ringworm (intro) / Teignmouth
The Sun Is Often Out
Time Of My Life