Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wolflike change

Patrick Wolf, where has your love gone?

I will never ever forget the day I fell in love with Patrick Wolf. I'm sure I've mentioned it before...I had missed my train up home to Edinburgh by five minutes and couldn't afford to get the next one. I sat in my room in halls of residence and listened to Lycanthropy on repeat and thought about adventure, my rapidly changing life and the propsect of the night Megabus back to an empty house in Edinburgh. I cried for the first time in ages, for myself, and for the sheer naked beauty of that album.

I'm not sure I could pinpoint the day I fell out of love with Patrick Wolf or, indeed, if I ever have. But I wasn't excited for his third album The Magic Position when it came out early last year. Nor could I be bothered getting tickets to see him play at any of his shows this year. When pictures of him arsing around with Peaches Geldof and the underage London party urchins started appearing in the trash press I felt disappointed that he'd seemingly lost some integrity. I later realised that you shouldn't wish obscurity and eternal leftfield undergroundness on anyone, especially someone with bags and bags of talent.

However, at his FINALE SHOW (of the Magic Position tour and he added a second date when this one sold out, so not so much of a finale!) I left feeling empty and unmoved. At previous shows I'd been struck by the intimacy, the drama, the sheer professionalism and how organic the whole thing was (not in the muesli mummy sense). But this context of The Patrick Wolf Show, costume changes, unadulterated egoism and hundreds of screaming 16 year old brats covered in neon and glitter...it's so alien from what I loved and hoped for from him.

The set was arrnaged with three sections; an acoustic first act, a flamboyant main section, and an out of this world encore. The first half was, admittedly, very good. Final Fantasy and Bishi joined him on-stage for duets and the older songs he played were great. The rest of the evening felt like one of those awful ITV 'An Audience With...', with Patrick performing his songs with all the sincerity of a drunken karaoke session. He seemed to lose concentration halfway through some songs and would forget his lyrics while his army of fangirls dutifully screamed the correct words.

Some people have commented that he is increasingly using ze DRUGZZZZ recently, something which he and his management have staunchly denied. However, anyone who had witnessed one of his magical performances around the time of Wind in the Wires could tell you that something is very different with Patrick this time around. I don't wish to comment on how people live their private life, but it saddens me that this performance, and numerous others of Patrick's in 2007, were not up to his previous standards.

Maybe it's healthier to think about it in terms of the bigger picture. The Magic Position is one album in a career of possibly dozens. Artists, especially soloists, go through phases and come out of them; maybe everything's a phase. And, without being patronising, Patrick is comparatively young; he has a lot of metamorphisising ahead of him. While this period leaves me cold, I know there will be great, great things to come from him.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 1/31/2008 06:37:00 pm


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