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- Patrick Wolf »
Patrick Wolf has been grabbing people's attention everywhere this year. The media spotlight has shone brightly onto his second album, 'Wind In The Wires', which could now safely be described as 'critically acclaimed', and after a series of low-key solo performances throughout 2004, it's good to see Patrick taking his music to a bigger stage. Tonight's gig has the atmosphere of a homecoming performance, and The Lyric is the perfect setting; a high, dramatic room with a sharp white arch over the stage and high spotlights dripping light onto the musicians. Tonight, the accompaniment consists of a cellist, a violinist and a drummer, and Patrick switching with impressive ease between a baby grand piano, violin and ukulele. But Patrick's greatest instrument is his voice, with it's clear, defined, ringing quality, from breathy growl to soaring falsetto; natural, unforced but highly expressive, with disarmingly honest and heartfelt delivery. It's easy to see why Patrick Wolf is the kind of musician who inspires devotion in his fans - he's a spellbinding performer, full of smiles, graceful bows, witty asides and a striking physical presence (much taller than you would expect, lithe, skinny, almost gangly). And as always, he's dressed in his customary hand-altered clothing - less of Lycanthropy's unkempt street urchin, Patrick looks more like the Wind In The Wires' elegant Gypsy King.
'London' sounds beautiful in a stripped-down form, the familiar chiming melody of Big Ben woven seamlessly into the fabric of this melancholic tale of love, loss and being swept off your feet in the currents of the big city. 'Demolition' is hauntingly fragile, and we get an exhilarating rendition of 'Wolf Song'. The 'Wind In The Wires' material is taken to another level live - Patrick's confidence in the new songs seems to have grown with time - 'Shadowsea' is bravely performed a capella, and 'Feignmouth', 'Land's End' and new song 'Godrevy Point' (a b-side on the forthcoming single) all sound vital and fully fleshed out, even with minimal backing. This is the performance I've been waiting to see since 'Lycanthropy' first dropped through my mailbox two years ago.
'The Libertine' (introduced as "a cautionary tale") is a stirring conclusion, and as Patrick strides from the stage it's clear that after two albums he is maturing both musically and as a performer. And where he goes from here - who knows, but it'll make for fascinating listening.
(photos: Jodi Warren - firstname.lastname@example.org)
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