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By Charlie David Page
10th September 2012

The stage is dark. Down lights faintly illuminate the instruments, creating a moody atmosphere, a looping black and white projection fills the back wall. Patrick Wolf proceeds to his piano, to a receptive welcome from the audience. He's sprinkled with glitter and wearing golden fern leaves in his hair; he sparkles under the stage lights. And thus begins a rather phenomenal acoustic breakdown of the musician's favourite songs.

As he commences the set with 'Overture', it's clear to see this is more than just stripped-back versions of his tunes. Rather, it's a complete rearrangement for the piano, and a few other choice instruments.

'London' sees Wolf take up the harp, and with the fern headpiece, he appears a little like an ancient Roman crossed with a cupid. He mesmerises with this instrument. His vocals are stunningly similar to those found on his albums - deep but emotion-filled and transfixing.

The first of many ukeleles is utilised for a rambunctious version of 'Tristan', and Wolf seems to have a lot of fun playing this role.


Starting a loop using a bodhran that eventually forms the backbone of 'Paris', Wolf resumes his position at the piano. He perches on precariously on the stool, body skewed out towards the audience, open and inviting. The song is much gentler than the original, and he finishes the song with eerie howls that echo throughout the venue, sending shivers down the audience's spine.

Wolf leads into 'Bluebells' by talking about his partner, Brett Anderson, and leaving him in the UK for the duration of the tour. We're also treated to a ukelele-inspired rendition of 'Oblivion', the version we're told is from the new album, 'Sundark and Riverlight', followed by 'Hard Times' and 'Together'.

Wolf's timely return to the piano brings a fixating and abundantly joyful rendition of 'House', with his booming voice resounding sincerity throughout the room.

What begins as 'Bermondsey Street' soon morphs into 'The Magic Position', in an upbeat and beautifully orchestrated reimagining - fans even contribute the song's signature double-claps at the appropriate times. As Wolf pounds at the keys of the piano, he's sitting on the edge of his seat, so engrossed in the music he's close to falling off.

The songs are anything but minimalistic - they're full-bodied and powerful entities, raw and alive.

Performed for us live for the very first time in its entirety is 'Trust' - at which point goodbyes are given and the musicians depart the stage.

Wolf returns with a maroon headband, and jokes about the difficulty in finding a Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning. His conversation is very natural, never forced, and he has the audience laughing numerous times throughout the performance. He then seats himself back at the piano and breaks into a rendition of 'Penzance'. Throughout, he's literally sliding off the stage to get to the keys of the piano.

Things eventually come to a conclusion with 'The City'. After starting into the song, Wolf interrupts himself, realising he's forgotten to say something. He explains this is a song he dedicates to something different every night. Tonight, he says, he dedicates it to marriage equality for Australians, hoping there will be change before he next returns. He even manages to squeeze some appropriate references to Sydney and the Harbour Bridge into the song.

The evening concludes with rapturous applause from the audience. Though described as an "acoustic" performance, the songs are anything but minimalistic - they're full-bodied and powerful entities, not the same as Wolf's recorded renditions, but raw and alive. 'Sundark and Riverlight', out in October, will be full of similar reworkings, and it's sure to be highly anticipated by anyone who witnessed these invigorating performances.

Like it? Follow it. Follow Patrick Wolf's Huddle at the top of this page (you'll have to sign in or join up first) for the latest tour details and news, and check back closer to its release date for our review of his new album.

ARTIST: Patrick Wolf
BEGAN: 2002
FROM: South London, Uk
SOUND: Indie/electronic
FACEBOOK: patrickwolf
INSTAGRAM: @patrickwolfpalisade
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