Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patrick Wolf @ Le Poisson Rouge

In a sold out solo acoustic show, Patrick Wolf spun an oneiric evening of bittersweet ballads, dirges and shanties. He stepped onstage with all the sartorial signs of a New Romantique Cinderella, sporting pantaloons, pearls, and an oversized ruff, his white blonde hair swept up rakishly in an asymmetical pompadour. He began on piano, before inviting out a violinist to accompany him as he meandered through his back catalog, sans setlist, switching between guitar, piano, viola, ukulele, and dulcimer as the songs demanded. Audience members would shout out suggestions for tracks at his request, and in an open and disarming fashion, he joked back and told stories about each song, invoking laughter and cheers at his anecdotes. Wolf spoke of his family, particularly in regards to a new song, "Damaris," which he wrote whilst researching his family tree about a gypsy girl who died of a broken heart. (Later, he even had the crowd join him in singing "Happy Birthday" to his cousin seated in the front row.)

Wolf repeatedly revealed his love of Joni Mitchell, whether expressing his joy at playing a gig on Bleecker Street, which she haunted in her hey day, performing her song "Tin Angel," or telling tales of his early career, where he'd sing for his supper in a pub using Joni's songs with a few of his own thrown in. The cold chimerical beauty of Wolf's work was deepened by the warmth of his tenor and his charming and quaint storytelling. It was an extremely intimate and inviting evening, one in which Wolf claimed his place as a talented multi-instrumentalist, a weaver of tales both otherworldly and real, and, above all, as a 21st century chanteuse dandy, able to express a wealth of emotions, from the blackest to the brightest. The androgynous boy who sang "I used to say just follow your dreams, but my dreams always led me to murder," has so very many sides to him: cynical and sweet, sentimental and serious. Patrick Wolf is undoubtedly one of the most darkly enchanting singer/songwriters of today.

1 comment:

Suteeben Furenda said...

Coooool, have been meaning to check this guy out. Pleasantly surprised to see this on here