Monday, September 19, 2011

Patrick Wolf at Le Poisson Rouge 09/18/11

I could regale you with yet another tale of technical proficiency, raw talent, poetry, and beauty that happened at last night's Patrick Wolf show at Le Poisson Rouge... but, really, who wants to hear me repeat myself over and over again? SO, I'll keep it quick. Last night's show was nothing short of wonderful and miraculous. Not only had I managed the SAME EXACT best seat in the house (as in front row, directly in front and beneath the center mic), but I was surrounded by wonderful fans who by the end of the night would become some new friends of mine. Later on, I was greeted by a mischievous Patrick who a quarter into the show, looked down at me, and in joking condemnation says "Krissy! Can you see the set list?!" Seeing as how I COULD NOT, I shook my head "No" only to receive the rebuttal, "Oh, so you're JUST PSYCHIC then?!" No, Patrick I am not psychic, I have just listened to your music so damned much, that I can recognize what you're about to play by the 3rd chord in... and I'm sure I am not alone in this gift.

Much like the previous night, it began with a bang, and was rather serious, and then... that proverbial necktie would begin to loosen, and before you knew it- Patrick was draping his lanky form across the piano and harp and any other inanimate object,  and say he was in a "very drapey" sort of mood thanks to the days photo shoot. It was really such a treat having Patrick and Victoria be so candid with the audience, and with each other. I couldn't help but be moved at the sight of Victoria Sutherland- when after Patrick dedicated "Godrevy Point" to her Aunt that was in the audience began to cry. As Victoria attempted to compose herself, I felt the tears in my own eyes begin to well up (you see I have a strict rule that NO ONE cries alone in my presence), and then- the tears came rolling down as Patrick walked over and gave his dear friend and fellow player a warm and supportive hug. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever witnessed on a stage and in a concert setting. That sense of uplifting kindness, that genuine tenderness, was evident throughout the entire evening, but, in that one moment, it was the very culmination of positive energy.

Patrick unabashedly shared more stories about the truth and history behind his songs, and, a personal triumph for me was that he obliged to play the song I had asked him to play the night before, "The Tinder Box". He revealed that the song, although based on a Hans Christian Anderson tale by the same name, was actually painfully autobiographical and far too personal to put directly on an album. The b-sides, it turns out, are where he puts his "diary" songs, and revealed that to hear them is like being told a secret about him, and that it always flatters him to hear that people love to listen to them.

There was a lot of bittersweet moments as the night came to a close, you see, Patrick and Victoria seemed to have enjoyed their short stint playing the West and East Coast, and had a hard time saying goodbye to it... This was especially evident at the close of the show, when, a small gathering of fans hung around outside the club doors inside Le Poisson Rouge, and was rewarded with what can only be described as an impromptu Q&A meet and greet- that lasted far longer than anyone could've anticipated.

Now, (obviously) I am not a timid person, and at this point I am comfortable enough to not only grab a seat next to Patrick but to also give him a silly gift. You see, the night before he had mentioned his woes of misplacing a plastic Halloween cup he got in one of our "Halloween Scene" type stores, so, knowing that England hasn't caught up to America on the sheer awesomeness of Halloween paraphernalia, I took it upon myself to buy him a set of plastic crystal skull goblets (with spinal cord stems). Man, what a worthwhile purchase that turned out to be, because the second he got that thing unwrapped he dumped his drink straight into it and began casually joking around with us. I think the pictures say it all...

The WONDROUS Set List:
Time of m life
Bermondsey st
The Days
The Railway
Wind in the Wires
The Future
All I Want (Joni Mitchell)
Land's end
The Falcons
Pigeon Song
Top of the City (Kate Bush)
The City
Godrevy point

The Magic Position

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Patrick Wolf at Le Poisson Rouge 09/17/11

Saturday night was an episode of VH1 Story Tellers, featuring the music and comedic musings of Patrick Wolf. From start to finish, the show was relaxed, a little unorthodox, and full of positive energy. I felt like I was in Patrick's living room, drinking milk and eating cookies, and sharing a hearty laugh with him and his violinist, Victoria. This is just one of the things that keeps me coming back to see Patrick Wolf in concert, his magnetism and warmth with his audience is unparalleled.

Then there's the music. Surrounding the stage was a grand piano, a set of violins, a ukulele, a harp, a baritone ukulele, and an Appalachian dulcimer. Bear in mind it's just Patrick and Victoria on the stage, so, these instruments were all going to be played at some point by Mr. Wolf's or Ms. Sutherland's deft and capable hands. I must say that although my ear is without musical expertise or knowledge, I thought they played them exceptionally well. There was a delicate balance maintained between technical accuracy and creative personality that I appreciated immensely. I think this balance is vital and not many musicians can manage it- let alone maintain it, and I truly believe that Patrick and Victoria achieved this effortlessly. Patrick in particular that evening was dancing around the stage, swooping down and snatching up the instruments, plucking away at their strings and checking their sound and tuning before delving in head first into the emotional realms of his very personal music. He switched things up between nearly every song. There was truly only one particular instrument that evening that remained a constant, and that was Patrick Wolf's voice. Not once did it falter, not once did it break, and never did he shy away from belting out a note. This, for me was Patrick's greatest triumph of the evening. His voice has become his greatest asset to his concert.

There was much laughter, and a LOT of intimate kidding around going on for much of the show. Let me put it to you this way, if there was a neck tie wrapped around Le Poisson Rouge's neck at the beginning of the show, well, the knot was undone, loosened, and properly tied around LPR's forehead by the end of the evening! Between Patrick cussing, doing fun little vocal exercises and sound effects, and sharing anecdotes about the origin of each song, you felt like you were watching a cabaret variety act in between a classically trained musicians performances. 

Better still was the fact that Patrick really put in an exceptional effort to say hello and show appreciation to the fans. Before the show started, Patrick surprised everyone by greeting us before we entered the hall to take our seats! Decked out in a sequined top resembling chain-mail, sporting his shock top head of burnt red hair- he was all grins and glad to say hello, sign autographs, give out hugs, and take pictures with anyone who would ask. The kindness didn't stop there, either, for he graciously appeared at the end of the show as well, to have some more small talk, sign more autographs, and take even more pictures with fans.

My personal experience of the night with Mr. Wolf and his wonderful supporting crew was beyond expectations, and, since this is a personal journal of sorts, I figured it's OK to share! I was almost denied at the door, DESPITE the fact that I had purchased my tickets well over a month ago, by some strange technical error- they had lost my ticket! I was about to go into full panic attack mode, until, like an angel from heaven, a beautiful woman by the name of Sam whipped her head 'round, asked me my name, and said "Put her on my guest list- make sure she gets in." I could of kissed her! Turns out, she's Patrick's manager, and when I (repeatedly) thanked her, all she could say was that she knows that feeling, and didn't want to see anyone else go through it when she could help it! That sort of kindness is rare, and I consider myself very fortunate to have encountered it. 

Another stroke of good luck came in the form of my Classic Le Poisson Rouge membership, which allowed me and my friend front of line access to the show! I was the first person to be let in and downstairs, which also means I was the first to be surprised with Patrick's appearance. Although, I must say, I think I managed to surprise Patrick as well, considering he kind of knows me... I was greeted with a warm "hello Krissy", a hug, and a question on how I managed front of line! He laughed and acknowledged my "golden ticket" and then told me he had eaten at an outdoor festival (my guess is San Gennaro), and thought of me and all my culinary adventures. This came as a bit of a surprise to me... because it implies that Patrick Wolf ACTUALLY READS his follower's twitter accounts- something I found astounding and wonderful.

A lot of great conversation was shared before and after the incredibly vivacious acoustic show, but, all I can hear in my ears and see in my minds eye is, Patrick's warm smile, and his casual complement to me... "Ah, Krissy, I love your energy". 

Here's the exceptional setlist:

Hard times
Time of my life
Railway house
Wolf Song
The Future
Pigeon song
The falcons
Top of the city (Kate Bush)
The City
The Magic Position
Bermondsey Street

The End...