Friday, 21 December 2007
Review: Patrick Wolf Live at Shepherds Bush Empire
Oh yes. The last time I was in Shepherds Bush empire it was to see my OTHER gorgeous jug-eared songwriting-genius Conor Oberst. But tonight it was our very own Patrick Wolf, doing a homecoming/ Christmas gig after a year which saw him splashed over just about everything and probably physically exhausted. We arrived very early (about 6.40) and already the queue was enormous. We were quite surprised, we thought the Bright Eyes turn-out would have been better (I don't know why, I always think Patrick Wolf is quite cult, but I guess he's not anymore).
As is par for the course for the gigs we go to, the queue consisted mainly of 16 year old girls so we felt very old. Still, it's not enough to make me start liking something shit so I'll grin and bear it.
We queued for YONKS and eventually got in, standing, about three rows back from the front. We were quite lucky at first because we seemed to have 25 girl midgets standing in front of us. The atmosphere appeared to be one of serenity, with them administering glittery dandruff on each other and blowing bubbles. It was like Spongebob and Patrick's wet dream. I though we were in for a quiet, relaxing night. But not so.
For the first half hour Patrick performed an acoustic set, which was lovely. He looked AMAZING (see our photo!) and had a fabulous blackbird in his hair like a hat. I also like to wear a bird in my hair at Christmas, so I'm clearly on the ball.
I was a bit annoyed at first because a lot of people were joking and talking through the first song which was pretty annoying, but they actually stopped after that. Some of the songs I didn't know, but I love hearing new stuff from him live and hearing him play the piano. He also played Wolf Song and The Marriage and Bishi came on looking very cool.
It was in between this mellow set and his main set that the trouble started, with the crowd becoming really busy and lots of people pushing forwards. I really didn't think people would be that rowdy at Wolfy, it was a lot mellower at Bright Eyes. Unfortunately I suffer from claustrophobia in crowds, and it was getting a bit TOO crowded for me (we were very central). I literally couldn't move my arms or legs and certainly couldn't dance. The moronic girls behind singing fucking Disney songs didn't help (yeah bah humbug, I'm old, just pipe down).
Anyway, Patrick came back on and did Overture. This was the end of my time at the front, as the guy behind me's double whammy of virtually sticking his dick in my back whilst tunelessly bellowing in my ear was enough for me. I came to hear Patrick sing, not this spotty twonk (it's hard to believe people like this could be Patrick Wolf fans). But if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's if someone is annoying you at a gig, move. They are the only thing you'll remember otherwise. Not everyone is an inconsiderate prick.
I left my boyfriend behind and I worked my way backwards a bit, to the bar on the right hand side, which actually wasn't that far back. Here I treated myself to a double vodka and lemonade, breaking my usual no drink rule (I have a weak bladder!) I was great by the bar, I could still see a lot and I could dance. The best part was Patrick threw himself into the crowd and ended up right next to me! He seemed to have lost his shoes. I was reminded of the 'all crowd surfers will be removed sign' but I don't think it applied to Patrick as he is half-elf and can do what the fuck he likes.
Setlist highlights: Bluebells, Get Lost, The Lighthouse, Tristan, the Libertine. Also the two new songs Vulture and Hard Times sounded absolutely amazing. I can't wait to hear the studio versions.
Another great moment was when Patrick crawled up the speakers on the opposite side to me and was singing Bloodbeat and dropped in a bit of 'Bleeding Love' by Leona and 'Gimme More' by Britney. Patrick is such a diva! He also sported a very Who-ville style quiff when he came back on.
Before the encore I spotted my boyfriend again and went back into the thick of it (but not quite so near the front- whoever thought I'd be pushed out of a Patrick Wolf moshpit?) Patrick seemed somewhat tiddly when he returned and was dressed as a giant Santa Claus/ snowball/ bauble. God bless him. He did a flawless version of Accident and Emergency and then a fantastic Boy Like Me (two dogs, two cats, a big kitchen and a welcome mat!). It was great because we were closer but there was still room to dance, and a really good atmosphere, unlike earlier when people were being knobs.
The finale of The Magic Position was brilliant, I loved the snow! The Magic Position is still the happiest song ever. The best lyrics. Patrick definitely seemed half-cut at the end, ramblingly introducing his band members and discussing the merits of the chicken shops of Shepherds Bush before going off to a couple of lines from 'Rocking Around the Christmas tree'. I would have loved one more song, but that's only because I'm greedy. He didn't play the piano so much and I love some of the piano-led ones like The Stars. But all in all, fabulous.
Any grumbles about the gig were to do with the crowd, not the Wolf. He is truly unique and very special, with a fantastic voice, incredibly versatile and puts on a very different, yet exciting show every time I see him. We are lucky to have him. It was a glittery, sparkling start to Christmas.