Patrick Wolf, The Old Vic Theatre, London, England, | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Patrick Wolf

Patrick Wolf, The Old Vic Theatre, London, England, August 30th, 2012

Aug 31, 2012 Patrick Wolf Bookmark and Share

“Sorry I had to have you seated,” said chamber pop visionary Patrick Wolf to Wednesday night’s packed-out crowd at The Old Vic Theatre in London. “I didn’t want anyone to fall over from boredom.”

With all due respect to the self-deprecating Londoner—who grew up a mere two minutes walk from the venue—that fate seems bloody unlikely.

Alongside an eight-piece orchestra, Wolf used the first stop of his world tour to air 19 cuts from his extensive catalogue. It was an aerobic set that saw him not only strutting, but switching between ukulele, harp, piano, harpsichord, and violin with equal ease. Yes, he was wearing a golden laurel wreath. Yes, he would later return to the stage in a black toga and pentagram headpiece. But when you’re 29 and your back catalogue features enough swoony orchestral pieces and clever turn of phrase to give both Rufus Wainwright and Jonathan Swift pause—well…you’re allowed a few frivolities.

Despite the sweetly nostalgia-tinged performance, and gutsy displays of musical gymnastics (over the course of one song Wolf played both the piano and harpsichord—his heady baritone never missing a beat) there was never a sense of pretension. It helped that Wolf never missed the opportunity to make himself the butt of the joke, particularly after having to restart several songs. “It goes straight, then it’s gay, straight, then it’s gay,” he laughed after forgetting the lyrics to “Bermondsey Street.” “I was going to write a third verse and fourth verse so it was straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, but it would have been a very long song! I try to cover all of the bases with my aesthetic.”

The city of London appeared throughout the set like an unaccredited co-star. Located minutes from both his birthplace (St. Thomas’ Hospital) and home for the last five years (a quick stroll down the street), Wolf praised the ornate Old Vic Theatre, noting that he once sat in the upper balcony for a performance. “You don’t need to drink,” he joked, praising the effects of vertigo on artistic perception.

In another nod to his local haunts, Wolf dedicated sentimental ballad “House” to his landlord—who Wolf will soon be leaving behind for his forthcoming tour. The town was even feted in the aptly named “London”—which included a piano line lifted from Big Ben’s iconic chimes.

It was fitting that the show closed with standout Lycanthropy cut, “Pigeon Song,” a duet that Wolf plays at every show with his lead violinist. As the two old friends performed, the moment became a sweet send-off, Wolf seemingly playing himself out of the city he loves and into the world.

Set List:

1. Ghost Song

2. Hard Times

3. Teignmouth

4. Penzance

5. Overture

6. Paris

7. Together

8. Time Of My Life

9. The Libertine

10. London

11. The Sun Is Often Out

12. Bitten

13. Bermondsey Street

14. Wind In The Wires

15. House

16. The Magic Position


17. Vulture

18. The City

19. Pigeon Song



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September 24th 2012

No complaints on this end, simlpy a good piece.

September 24th 2012

I told my kids we’d play after I found what I ndeeed. Damnit.

August 15th 2014

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old
daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to
tell someone!