Patrick Wolf @ The Forum
Patrick, a violinist, an oboist. That’s the extent of the personnel that took to the stage in the intimate surrounds of The Forum’s upstairs theatre for this, Wolf’s curious diversion into an acoustic guise as he reflects on his first decade as a recording artist. The atmosphere was pleasantly informal, Wolf glided to the piano adorned with a gilded laurel wreath atop his crown and platform wedges under his feet, alternating between the arsenal of instruments decked out across the stage.
While not seamless, Wolf managed to carry on with aplomb despite technical difficulties rendering his acoustic tenor guitar inaudible early on in the set. The acoustics of The Forum’s upstairs theatre aren’t all that desirable, but Wolf’s voice managed to shine regardless. The anxiety-inducing flourish of the studio version of Hard Times was exchanged for something more beautiful in the stripped-back setting, showcasing the frenetic bursts of violin.
Wolf candidly explained the projected visuals at various points in the night, memories from Elizabethan fairs he was dragged to as a child and other home video footage. Bluebells was prefaced with a tale about how a Sydney reviewer misheard Wolf’s wistfulness for autumn in Great Britain as spending autumn with Suede’s Brett Anderson. Wolf’s love-letter to Mondays, Magic Position, was joyous, nearly daring the seated audience to take to their feet and dance. Not quite though.
Closing out the main portion of the evening, Wolf Song was dedicated to a now-Melbourne-based friend who Patrick first performed the track to when he was 16-years-old, a watershed personal moment, and perhaps the birth of the Patrick Wolf we know today.
The City provided a triumphant close to the evening, retaining its bombast despite lacking its booming percussion.
Unhinged, intimate, a little bit self-indulgent, but ultimately worthwhile. While the acoustic mode provides an affable respite from Wolf’s grander theatrics, hopefully it is but a temporary respite.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Photo credit: Richard Sharman
LOVED: The unanimous and organic claps from the crowd during the chorus of The City.
HATED: The visual component was a little undercooked.