Review of Patrick Wolf's gig at Nottingham Rescue Rooms on Thursday 17th March 2011

Much more than a multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wolf is a showman. Throughout five albums across eight years Patrick has utilised guitar, ukelele, piano, violin, harp and countless other instruments to drift from brooding folk to joyous disco pop, but all this seems incidental on-stage. Like support act Rowdy Superst*r the emphasis is strongly on the performance and stage show, although unlike tonight's hors d'eouvre Patrick always has a song to drive the theatrics.

Patrick Wolf

Not yet in his thirties, he has already amassed an enviable back-catalogue, and the set is a perfect mix of tracks from his as-yet-to-be-released fifth album "Lupercalia" and his first quartet of full-lengths. The two singles from "Lupercalia", 'Time Of My Life' and 'The City', are already fan favourites and both fit his stage persona perfectly, bouncing around with Cheshire grins, albeit with a possible air of vacancy.

Either side of a costume change Patrick prowls the stage and reaches out into the audience as his (as good as) backing band maintain the backbone of the set. The over-riding sense of euphoria present both on-stage and across the audience lead to the brooding couplet of 'Tristan' and 'Don't Say No', selections from début and sophomore "Lycanthropy" and "Wind In The Wires", feeling slightly out of place despite their re-workings.

That his encore consists of a new track and a selection from 2009's "The Bachelor", generally regarded as his poorest full-length to date, shows his confidence. The finalé is, perhaps inevitably, largest hit 'The Magic Position', the sickly sweet slice of pomp that no doubt first endeared him a large percentage of the 14+ crowd whose reception is a world away from the typical arms-folded shoe-studying of the Rescue Rooms.

Whilst a large percentage of Patrick's recorded material falls into the category of either being 'too serious' or 'too saccharine' his performance is full of enough vigour and energy to nullify such critiques, and whilst an hour and a half set may stretch the highlights of his output a little too finely it is still enjoyable for the most part.


Jordan Dowling

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