Forgive me for using older reviews of gigs that I did for my myspace page for my initial posts, but I’m still trying to sort through how I want to set this thing up. And these reviews are no less interesting for being older. People of future generations will hail these reviews as classic. I am the Lester Bangs of the Digital Age. I am John Peel without a radio show. I am also fairly delusional.

Anyway, here’s a review of the Patrick Wolf gig in Toronto this last October. It was a cracker.


A contingent of hardcore fans lined the front of the small, chin-high stage. They were encrusted with glitter – their hair, the bandit stripes across their eyes, the swirls on their shoulders. It could have been a Bowie concert circa 1972. But it wasn’t.

No, this was a Patrick Wolf show at Lee’s Palace in downtown Toronto last night. This fact makes it no less exciting. Nor does it make it any less mythical. For Patrick Wolf has already become myth at age twenty-four. He is otherworldly, much like a potent mixture of David Bowie and Kate Bush. He oozes both sex and childlike innocence and abides by no particular rules. His style changes just as much as Bowie’s has; one day he wears stegosaurus trousers, the next he wears an impossibly tight pair of aquamarine shorts and suspenders. And of course he can pull it off with the aplomb of an unabashed original.

I, myself, have been a huge fan of Patrick Wolf for a couple of years now. His first album, Lycanthropy, full of distorted beats and wolf-like howls, and stories of captured children and Peter Pan, captivated me. Electronic sounds and drum machines are seamlessly mixed with violins and accordian. Wolf isn’t his real last name, but it becomes a fitting moniker and persona for the fantastical being and his three albums to date. His second album, Wind in the Wires, retains the magic of his previous storytelling, but pairs it with a generally mellower and folkier sound. His latest LP, The Magic Position, his first major label release, is different yet again with its joyful gypsy-like songs. A theme of escape and heedless abandon runs through all three, a boundless energy that transports you from mundane realities into a fairy netherworld that exists in a twilight of dark deeds and festive flights of freedom. Needless to say, when I finally got a chance to see him live, I took it, three hours on a bus and all.

Even though I arrived more than an hour before the doors were scheduled to open, the glittering obsessives were already there, listening to Patrick Wolf songs from one of the fan’s stereo purse (songs which competed with the actual soundcheck taking place just behind a side door). They alternately sprinkled glitter over each other and blew bubbles with mini-bubble-wands. One wore a headband that looked like some sort of Egyptian headgear at first glance; on closer inspection, it was a headband with a tiny giraffe stuck to it (the giraffe – like the unicorn – being one of the beasts associated with the Patrick Wolf mythology). Some fans actually brought a bouquet of sunflowers and others brought their own special effects – in addition to the bubble wands, they also had streamers and maracas. As I soon discovered, the fans would time each use of the appointed props to specific points in songs, having a bit of a Rocky Horror Show quality to it.

During the palpable tension before Wolf came onstage, one fan asked another, “Is this your first time seeing him?” The other replied that indeed it was. The first responded with “Do you think it will be strange seeing him for real? It’s like he’s not real.” One fan was leaping and screaming in excitement far before Wolf was due to come on – it was as though he was exploding with Christmas morning anticipation; he also draped a sunflower over the monitor directly in front of Wolf’s microphone.

Wolf came on stage wearing a blond, curly wig and a gold collar akin to a disco Jacobean ruff. His body was awash with the same glitter as his glistening fans, giving him a magical, alien presence. His short cut-offs displayed long, sparkling legs with knee-high, nearly invisible net stockings and feet thrust into turquoise shoes reminscent of children’s shoes at the turn of the century. As the gig progressed, he lost most of his clothing, revealing the unicorn tattooed to his chest, and he ended up in just his shorts and stockings, his blond hair tousled and spiked with sweat. Someone in the crowd shouted, “Take your shorts off.” Wolf smiled and replied, “I can’t. I’m not wearing any underwear.” Perhaps as gender ambiguous as Bowie in the ’70’s, Wolf is astoundingly even more beautiful in real life than he is in photos.

As far as the song choices, he stayed well within the realm of his more popular and/or released singles (“The Libertine,” “To the Lighthouse,” “Wind in the Wires,” “Accident and Emergency,” “Teignmouth,” etc). He bounced from violin to ukulele to keyboards and back again, displaying incredible musical versatility. His accompaniment was an additional violin, drums, some programmed sounds, and an upright bass. It was a pleasant change to actually be able to hear a singer’s voice and lyrics so easily over the music – no distortion at all. My only complaint (and it’s a tiny one) would be that I would have liked to hear one or two b-sides and/or cover songs. I would have personally loved to hear him sing “Adder” or Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” live. I will admit that I danced, and jumped, and screamed with the best of them, feeling like a reckless child – I’m paying for it today, but it’s yet another price I’m willing to pay for Mr. Wolf.

During the final song (the propulsive “The Magic Position”) of the set proper, fans fired streamers onto the stage and Wolf ended up festooned in them. The whole show was truly like one big celebration as Wolf danced and jumped as much as the fans and continually smiled and laughed. Sometimes he would sit or lie on the stage and peer from behind the monitors; other times, he stalked across the stage like his predatory namesake. Between songs, he would talk to the audience, often making them laugh, and several of the songs were prefaced with self-deprecating banter that made him seem like a shy child ready to perform a recital. At one point, he suggestively unfolded his lanky body across the keyboard. The constant flux between a joyful innocence and a sexy suggestiveness created a mesmerizing, disarming duality. When he sings, “Come get lost with me,” you do.

He returned for two encores – the haunting “Magpie,” duetting with Bishi (his incredible opening act who blends sitar with electronic beats – highly recommended) and “Bloodbeat” – and nearing the end, he wore a disco ball-like beret. However, even after “Bloodbeat” finished, Wolf seemed reluctant to leave the stage and skipped and cantered about singing snatches of Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” and Gina G’s “Ooh Ah” – bizarre choices that nonetheless fit with his boyish exuberance.

It may be a bit presumptuous to say at this early stage in his career, but I felt like I had witnessed something very significant, perhaps on par with Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust days. With his versatility, charisma, and massive imagination, I’m betting that Patrick Wolf will be renowned in the years to come, and these early days will be looked back upon with envy by those who weren’t there to see it firsthand.

When I left the gig at two in the morning, the sidewalk shimmered with both newly fallen rain and glitter, creating a path both urban and fairy-like at the same time. The mundane transformed into something magical.

Running Up That Hill – Patrick Wolf

Adder – Patrick Wolf


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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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