Friday, October 05, 2007

Interlude: Encore!

I hadn't planned on seeing Patrick Wolf again, but with the Pipettes moving back their show next Monday, and nothing really planned 'til CMJ, I figured why not. I'm not really sure what my policy is as far as seeing bands twice. The responsible part of me suggests that I should pass and do something academic or something, but the neurotic part, as you can probably guess, generally wins out. I suppose if I'm interested enough to see a band once, the way they tour these days, I'll almost inevitably catch them again at some point. Of course, I'd like to balance out the old with the new, and for that I am grateful for openers.


P-Wolf's countrywoman and occasional collaborator Bishi started things off. She was as vocally striking as her dress, blending her Bengali heritage with her English upbringing into something quite unique. Although she began things sparsely, relying only on her sitar (?) for instrumentals, she would eventually add beats and other embellishments, including backup vocals, via iPod. But no matter the accompaniment, her impressive, often soaring voice was the distinct centerpiece of the set. Things finished strongly, as her current single "Never See Your Face" brought a gigantic bass beat that was worthy of, like, Hot Chip. It was an unexpected finale to a set that started out almost twangy, but an excellent one.

MySpace: Bishi
Official Site: Bishi

Patrick Wolf

Patrick's appearance at the Bowery Ballroom in May was one of the best shows I had been to, featuring numerous costume changes and remarkable performing. I figured the less intimate Webster wouldn't quite match it, and while that was mostly the case, he's definitely one of the most interesting performers out there right now. The set began with appropriate theatrics, as the rest of the band - a violinist, upright bassist, drummer and Mac-ist - took the stage. Patrick would emerge to huge cheers, which would continue throughout the night. I wasn't familiar with the couple songs he started with, but finally the wonderful "Overture" gave us all something to cheer for.

The rest of his set switched from older stuff and more recent Magic Position offerings. Predictably, my enjoyment was largely derived from familiarity, but I do think the new material is generally better. "Accident & Emergency" and "Bluebells" were both fantastic, but the older stuff is still a mixed bag for me. Although I applaud his versatile use of piano, ukulele and violin viola (although I think the latter was used too sparingly), Patrick's previous work lacks the wide-eyed exuberance of his most recent. So, a lot of the time was just spent admiring the theatrics. Bringing Bishi back on stage for a back-and-forth "Magpie" was a nice touch, as was the dark-disco stomp of "Tristan," but nothing really compares to that one song we were all waiting for.

"The Magic Position" is one of this year's strongest songs. Its live form is a joyous celebration; despite the song's singular subject, when it's played to an audience, it encompasses all. You'd be hard pressed to find a single pair of hands that wasn't clapping along, or a mouth that wasn't singing. There's so much good stuff going on: the lively electronic beats, the violin hook, Patrick's romanticism-drenched baritone; it's simply fantastic. It was a great conclusion - forgettable encore aside - and hopefully he'll bring an equally excellent new album next time he's in town.

More photos from the show on Pitchfork, and the single below.

MP3: Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position

Here's Patrick live at Paradiso in Amsterdam. I'm not sure on the date of this (any info appreciated), but looks like older stuff. Enjoy!

Update: It was recorded on April 14th, 2005. You can check out a video at; thanks to Liam for the tip.

1. Idumea, Wind in the Wires
2. London
3. Teignmouth
4. The Gypsy King
5. Souvenirs
6. The Shadow Sea, Pigeon Song
7. Jacobs's Ladder, Tristan
8. Penzance
9. Paris
10. The Railway House
11. Magpie
12. To the Lighthouse
13. Get Lost
14. Land's End, The Towans
15. Wolf Song
16. Pumpkin Soup
17. The Libertine
18. Afraid

Mediafire: Entire Set
MySpace: Patrick Wolf
Official Site: Patrick Wolf


Liam said...

Two little things - One, Patrick plays the viola, not the violin (not a big thing, but I thought I'd point it out) and also the Paradiso gig was on the 14th of April, 2005. There's a full video of the gig on too!

Roland said...

Thanks, Liam. I'll go ahead and fix that.

rob said...

Hey there, apologies for contacting you like this, but I couldn’t find an email address. My name’s

Rob and I work for a new media company. We’re currently in the midst of setting up a huge MP3/free don-

load resource for music bloggers.
After reading your Patrick Wolf review, i think you really hit the nail on the head as it were. I've seen the man many times and your slight with descriptions and ability to rerally capture the atmosephere is credible. nice one my friend :)

If the recource seems like something you’d be interested in, drop me a line at

Thanks for your time

v. said...

Please, could you give us a new link for the entire set ? I watched it on Fabchannel, and once again, Patrick Wolf is amazing !
Thank you so much.

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