I was fortunate to catch Patrick Wolf perform at the Plaza here in Vancouver. It’s a small venue so the show was nice and intimate. When I asked Mr. Wolf whether he’s surprised by the type of crowd that comes out to see him perform, his answer was “not really, each crowd is fantastic…I remember one week, I played for 2 people and then the next week I played for a packed church” and as far as the ‘type’ of crowd? “I don’t see people as a label”, he said, which made me feel pretty superficial and slightly ashamed for asking. “I can fall in love with a 17 year old tranie or a 29 year old homelady” confirming the fact that for him, people are just people.
Are you a romantic? I asked, “I don’t know, I’m just Patrick”. Just Patrick, dressed as an angelic elfin type boy wearing knee socks, cut off shorts a bit too small by his own admittance, gold sparkled suspenders, and a green Peter Pan style shirt? Riiiight, just Patrick.
Do you feel the fantastical element to your shows limits the scope of your audience? Lessens people’s ability to take you seriously? He doesn’t feel there is a fantastical element to his shows, which I might add, included a mystical starry night forest backdrop with dirt pathway and a swirling light show that made me feel as though I was under water. His outfit on top of that, well, the whole thing seemed rather fantastical to me, but maybe that’s just who he is so he doesn’t see it that way. As for being taken seriously “I dress down for the stage” he says, which makes me wonder how he dresses in his day-to-day life; “I’ve never cared about being taken seriously, I’m not going to compromise and I’m not scared of being embarrassed, I don’t have to win people”.
So you get embarrassed? “Yeah”, he replied in his soft voice, which made me feel better, and a little more connected to this rather eccentric fellow. Speaking of his voice, it’s incredible. Truly beautiful, at some points during his show I was riveted simply by the range and accuracy of his notes. He plays numerous instruments, mixes them with electronic beats, and in Vancouver he was accompanied by his laptop, a drummer, a stand up bass and a violin player.
He’s on tour right now promoting his latest album “The Magic Position” released on Loog Records, which is being well received. When he played the title track live, he introduced it as “that time in your life when you quit your job and fall in love– it’s like…the magic position”. It was perfect, just as he began to play I saw my ‘crush’ out of the corner of my eye. I went and stood beside him in my very own little magic position. After the show, my ‘crush’ who will remain nameless, mentioned simply as an observation, how ‘un-political’ Patrick Wolf was. It’s true; although he did ask at one point during the show if there were “any Muslims in the audience”, which I found amusing and apparently so does Patrick because according to him, “there never are.” Isn’t that a label? Or labeling people? Hmmmm….
Anyway, Patrick Wolf is a wonderful entertainer, lyricist, performer, singer – Artist. He may come off quite soft and feminine but at 15 he actually sued his school for their views on gay people. They had said that they couldn’t help him with bullying because he was of an ‘effeminate disposition’. So he took them to the European Court of Justice and won, and bought a piano with the money. I read that somewhere…I unfortunately didn’t have enough time before he had to go to ask him about it but I do think it’s worth acknowledging.
If you haven’t heard of Patrick Wolf I encourage you to check him out, and not just this album, his past albums and of course he’s working on his next album as well. When I asked him if there were any discernible themes he replied “depression, darkness, suicide…” So the next album shall be a light one? He didn’t think that was funny or at least he didn’t laugh or respond.
In all seriousness though, it was a pleasure and an honor to talk with Patrick and I look forward to his further success.