LIVE REVIEW: Patrick Wolf at EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney)

Patrick Wolf
Credit: Bryan Sansivero

With six LPs under his belt and having proved himself a master of rearrangements, Wolf, aka Patrick Denis Apps, had more than enough material to make his electro-pop folk and Baroque chamber music sound new and exciting. Furthermore, 2023 marked 20 years since his debut LP. Patrick could have easily made this gig an album anniversary show. Instead, he used it to show that he still had much creative fuel in the tank and demonstrate his ongoing personal recovery.

With just three songs performed from his 2003 Lycanthropy album and all of the six songs from his two 2023 releases, The Night Safari EP and new single "Penzance", allowed himself to be wide open to examination, making it impossible for any error to have any space to run to, let alone hide in. The first four songs were Patrick with the piano, which included a pure, stripped-back version of "The Libertine" and an elating rendition of "Land's End", a B-side from Wolf's Wind in the Wires EP.

When Wolf stood up tall to play the acoustic guitar (he is over six foot tall), his wardrobe demonstrated how one could look both androgynously fashionable and sincere without having an agenda or re-sharing on social media in mind. The first guitar song, "Idumea", and the second of his new 2023 songs to be performed, espoused the best of Seth Lakeman's "King and Country" and Noah and the Whale's "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.".

Wolf then introduced EartH to his synthesisers that he had had since 2007, which had almost departed from this world, but thanks to Patrick's determination (finding someone deft enough to repair them), they first made the rounds, beginning with "Nowhere Game". The subsequent song, "Teignmouth", was passionate for Wolf and the audience. It was not so much because "Teignmouth" is a fan favourite or Wolf favourite, but because it was the first song of the evening that saw the artist reunite with his first love, the viola.

Like the genius Nikola Tesla, Wolf appreciates pigeons, so much so that he wrote a song honouring them, which made his debut LP. The string plucking, urgency, unexpected tempo changes, and emotion at the finale when Wolf sang, "Where is my home, pigeon do you know?" made an already elated crowd melancholy.

Whilst Wolf looked cool and exercised the crowd with subtle innuendos and banter, Patrick's overall mesmerising appeal was his sincerity and ability to ensnare the audience with instruments largely dismissed and overlooked by other artists, such as the Irish whistle and the recorder. Furthermore, with this show taking place just days before Christmas, Patrick showed a sense of occasion by playing a song dedicated to the winter solstice called "Time of Year".

The audience forgave Patrick for beginning twenty minutes later than scheduled because he performed a fantastic show exceeding two hours with Nikola Tesla across a spectrum of his career, which confirmed that the best was yet to come. Wolf's only flaw was pointing out his minor mishaps whenever he seldom missed or played an incorrect note, which he'd spotted before the audience had had a chance to. He even abandoned one song at mid-point because he was dissatisfied with his performance.

This show sold out, and why many more will sell out isn't solely out of loyalty or compassion for someone past their peak and relapsed. It's out of admiration for an artist who's found new ways to continue to blossom.


Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 331 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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