Wednesday, May 27

Patrick Wolf, Liverpool University, May 23rd.

. Wednesday, May 27

Anyone who has been keeping up with Patrick Wolf in recent months will know he has had a turbulent time. From getting dropped to revealing his long term, same sex relationship Wolf has re-established who he is as an artist and emerged with a new album, 'The Bachelor' under his arm. Tonight's set is a chance to road-test the new tracks as well as air a handful of fan favourites.

Coming on stage wearing a head mic more usually associated with Britney or Madonna is a brave move and unsurprisingly it does break during the intro to 'The Libertine', "That's what you get for singing live I guess, Madonna just mimes." Prior to that however Wolf uses his freedom and mobility to great theatric effect. From being on his knees and embracing the crowd during set opener 'Oblivion' to geing able to punch his fist into the ground on the correspodong line from 'Damaris' Wolf uses the lack of rigidity to create a sense of unpredictability. Most impressive is the physicality of new song 'Battle', an aggressive and high energy techno punk call to arms- Wolf conducts the riot with suitable confrontation and charisma. Charisma is an overriding theme with Wolf, in between songs he is charming and funny from telling the crowd how his violin teacher said he would never succeed as he "Couldn't sit still" which then leads to an impersonation of Estelle's walk from the BRIT awards.

This inability to sit still, both physically and creatively, is what makes Wolf such an engaging talent though. As the set flicks between the punky 'Tristan' and 'Accident and Emergency' to the new epic folk of 'Thickets' and 'Count Of Casualty' the performance and intensity doesn't drop an inch. The newer material blends in well with the older work too, 'Blackdown' and Wolf's self-declared favourite 'Who Will' sit nicely with 'Magic Position' cut 'Bluebells' and the spralling 'Teignmouth' during the hour plus set. The role of actress Tilda Swinton is an intriguing one on 'The Bachelor' and at this early stage her spoken word parts are struggling to translate in the live setting. Clearly she is not performing at the shows so her part is played through a monitor however jostling for position alongside processed beats and swirling violins Swinton's cut glass delivery gets lost- when the band find a way to make this feature work it will be sublime.

And so, the venemous and camp vaudevillian show comes to and with the forthcoming single 'Hard Times' in which Wolf calls for resolution and revolution amidst a sea of violins and guitars. He looks happy and embraces the crowds rapturous applause and in that moment you can't help but feel that his massive amount of those two r's is what makes him so vital and necessary.

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