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On Monday night I was lucky enough to see Patrick Wolf’s London show at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.  Most of the songs he played were from his new album The Bachelor, but he did play a few songs from his last album The Magic Position; the title track and ‘Accident and Emergency’.

Wolf and crowd

I’m a big fan of Patrick Wolf. He’s one of a few pop/indie musicians around at the moment who write really interesting music

Patrick Wolf and violin

This quite interesting article goes into Wolf’s background in performance art collectives and electronic instrument construction.  In it he is compared to my favourite pop musician David Bowie.

I’m not entirely sure that you can compare the two.  The 1970s had a very different musical landscape, and Bowie’s experimental approach to performance was ground breaking at the time.  But the more I think about it the more the comparison makes sense.

For one thing look at this –

Bowie’s first dabble with electronic music Earthling (released in 1997):
bowie-earthling

And a better view of Wolf’s flag outfit on Monday night:
Union jack

The lyrics for Bowie’s ‘Battle for Britain’:

Don’t be so forlorn, it’s just the payoff
It’s the rain before the storm
Don’t you let my letter get you down
Don’t you, don’t you, don’t you, don’t you

Don’t you let my letter get you down, down, down, down
Don’t you, don’t you, don’t you, don’t you
Don’t you let my letter get you down, down, down, down
Don’t you, don’t you, don’t you, don’t you

Down, down, down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down, down, down

And Patrick’s ‘Battle’:

Battle the Patriarch
Battle for equal rights

Battle, battle, battle
Battle back your liberty
Battle the long night
Come on
Battle battle battle
It’s your time

So I suppose even if Wolf isn’t the new Bowie, they certainly both have a penchant for union flag clothing and defiant British electronica.

What is great about Partrick Wolf isn’t really his outlandish outfits or confident stage presence, but his musical talent.  Wolf has the confidence to try different styles of music and write songs about different emotional, political and fictional themes.  Listening to Wolf you can really feel his passion for sound.  And I can never resist a fellow harpist.

Patrick Wolf is touring the US for the rest of June, heading back to the UK for the beginning of festival season.  Highly recommended.

Patrick Wolf

02/05/09
The Electric Ballroom, Camden.

Quick edit to add:

Here is a post from Style Bubble about Wolf’s clothes and costumes.  And here is a more recent post on his Battle costumes, including a very Saint Sebastian-esque speared jacket.

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Not even the people of Edinburgh can escape the avalanche of hope:
Scotland for Obama

The rally

Yes we can

Happy voting Americans!

DSCF4524.JPG
A television reporter outside the Senator Boxer event (Feb. 2007)

…And not just about developments in naked opera.

I wrote this article while I was traveling around the US at the beginning of last year. It was published in Sydney University’s student paper in March, despite the slightly haughty over-explanation of basic issues in US politics.

Can’t wait till ’08:

[Between Castles] looks toward the next US Presidential election.

The landslide victory of the Democrats in the midterm elections late last year signalled not only a shift in public attitude towards George W Bush and the war in Iraq, but also a dramatic change in the distribution of political power in the US. While the next presidential election is almost two years away, strategists in Washington are already turning their attention to what effect this change in political climate might have on the next big race.

I arrived in the US in early February this year, on the eve of Barack Obama’s announcement of his contention for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The next day thousands of supporters gathered for his address at the old state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, where President Lincoln had delivered his famous “house divided” speech almost a hundred and fifty years before.

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