More of my dangerously intimate involvement in the end-of-year issue of Redbrick.
Reviews of Patrick Wolf and La Roux gigs. Click for the much-prettier PDF (also here for my official introduction and mourning of my predecessor, written by my fine and above-all-professional colleague Ms. Erica Vernon) or read on for blog-format, with bonus behind-the-scenes confessions. It’s an androgyny special!
First up, most famous hairstyle in the Western World, surprising-chart-success, Ms Ellie Jackson and La Roux:
“Coming on to stage to alternating chants of ‘La Roux, La Roux is on fire’ and ‘Get your bum out’; it’s almost immediately a case of audience versus band.
Singer Elly Jackson, who has pretty much taken on (for tonight, at least) the mantle of La Roux herself, timidly tries to play down the attention. The tunes take a while warming up and for a while the atmosphere struggles.
But soon, with the dance-to-me lights and kickin’ bass there to back her up, the crowd obey the command to get their groove on.
The gig is a showcase for unheard songs from the forthcoming album, an assurance there’s some range and depth still to be seen. By the time they finally play the hit single In For The Kill, any awkwardness is gone and everyone is dancing.
Elly’s even got the balls to not make it the last song. That honour goes to the new single, Bulletproof, which proves to be the song of the night, even though I’d never heard it before. It’s the song everyone goes out, satisfied, into the cold night air humming.”
And the picture-of-Dorian-Gray, costume-stylin’ Romantic spaceboy from London himself, Mssr. Patrick Wolf!
“Live, you realise how much of an unabashed pop bitch Patrick Wolf is. Coming on hollering ‘Birminghaaam’ into a Britney-esque head mic, he jumps straight into the crowd, interacts, making the most of his wirelessness.
Dressed up like a manga character and backed up by an army of synths, it’s clear, live, just how much Patrick Wolf is David Bowie’s love child by some beautiful alien man-woman, now sent to earth to follow in his fathere’s footsteps and save us all.
Patrick Wolf is obviously a fully-fledged rock star. Shouting, working the crowd, the whole band jumping up and down during Accident & Emergency.
He’s a self-deprecating, confessional acoustic singer-songwriter (the least interesting personal- the most real, most human.) It’s this that struggles to carry him through a couple of slower songs in an otherwise perfectly paced gig.
Somehow, live, the songs lack some of the transcedence of the records. But that’s all traded in for Wolf’s showmanship. That unavoidable throughline, his unmistakeable voice is hidden somewhat by the endless variety of songs, clothes, personas on show. The climax of the gig began to reconcile all these fragments, and you can see a charmingly vulnerable boy, at his happiest. Live, Patrick Wolf is everything.”
Confession: Most of this was written whilst being bullied by the aforementioned oh-so-professional Ms Vernon. She’s a tickler, that one.