May Live Music Strike You Dead! #11: Patrick Wolf, Firenze, October 15th 2009


18 okt 2009, 10:16

Patrick Wolf's raging "apparition" on stage in Florence made the first night of Festival della Creatività one to be remembered for a long time ahead. A powerful set of songs, spanning from Lycanthropy to his last effort, The Bachelor, mostly chosen among the singles, with the surprising exception of Paris, Patrick swept the stage with a rapturous performance, as the crowd's enthusiasm built up reaching an astonishing climax on Battle, until the joyful release of The Magic Position (introduced by the now usual Like A Virgin's improvisation, and, less obviously, closed with Che farò senza Euridice? improv in italian).

Now, this is what I would write about this concert in a classic reviewing mood. But this time, the night was special for different reasons than music alone. Patrick's talent both in music and stage performing remains unmarred - more than that, it's growing steadily with time. And yet there were two more surprising elements that really made me feel happy to be there, grateful to Patrick for the artist he is.

The first being his hinting to new music that apparently is inspiring him. He introduced Bluebells not with The Bluebell as in September at Milan's gig. He started with these words:

Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending
But all good things, they say, never last
And love, it isn't love until it's past

Although I've been listening to Prince for a while now, I haven't listened to his Parade album yet. That's why I didn't recognize immediately a beautiful, heartbreaking song of his, Sometimes it Snows in April. It's great to know that Patrick is still exploring, keeping his eyes and ears wide open for inspiration from other artists, more or less contemporary of his. PJ Harvey's and Joni Mitchell's names popped up recently in his twits on Twitter, and he also covered songs of theirs (Patrick's rendition of Joni Mitchell's Willy at the piano is one of the most moving things heard from him). And now Prince: great news, I dare say!

On a different note, I noticed that the common theme of the songs was quite dark, recalling distinctly The Bachelor's overall darkness and the sense of an end that inhabits it (death, mourning, isolation) - paired up, for sure, to a wild want for change and freedom. That's the link that brings me to the second element that left me striken with awe.

Patrick's speech about homophobia and freedom to love and be ourselves was really something. It was simple, direct - it was apparent that he knew he was speaking to young people in their early twenties for the most part, and that's why his words may have sounded to someone like having a teenage-like naive character. Actually, everything he said showed his sincere care for what he stands for with his music. I admired him for taking a stance, still young himself but so brave: he made it clear that freedom and being true to ourselves is the most important thing, and that is exactly what his music is all about. Here's a transcript:

...I've been doing some interviews recently in Italy, for this concert and for my record, and time and time again the journalists brought up a question about, I guess recently, you know, with equal rights and homophobia within our counties. I've been asked, like, what is my opinion on the poor state of equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people here in Italy. I know this is gonna piss off a hell of a lot of you that aren't from that type of the community, but for all of you who are and are struggling, having shit everyday of your life since you were eleven and twelve, since you knew you were something different and you wanted to be yourselves: just be yourselves, and believe in live and let live, that we can be ourselves, and we don't wanna judge anyone else, we just wanna be ourselves when we walk down the street, when we kiss the person that we love. And we don't want no shit for that, that's the problem here. Pride is a big thing: take pride in yourselves, be yourselves, be happy, fuck the law, kiss and love whoever the fuck you want. And if some motherfucker ever tries to bring you down for that, then you come to me, okay? And I'll fucking be there for you, all right? With my music, and with my biggest heart, because nobody should be going through this shit, and no matter what the religion, no matter what the government, no matter what the president, no matter what the fucking Pope does! No matter what you believe in, you believe in yourselves and you believe in your heart, okay? This song is for all of you, and this is for all of you that don't understand just yet.
Then Battle started, and it was one of the most empowering things I've ever experienced. He inserted these lines in the song:

It's your time, ITALIA!

Battle the Pope
Battle the Catholic
Battle the Muslim
Battle the organized religion

Battle back your liberty!
Battle back your mind!
Battle back your heart!

Battle back your liberty!
Battle back your liberty!
Battle back your liberty!


I had my moment with Patrick, that night. He came down the stage to the crowd, and stood on the fence to sing as near as he could to us. I was near enough to meet his gaze, and I found myself pronouncing the words "I got so sick of being told our identity was in minority" with him. He saw me: he smiled and, as he went on saying "don't worry, we've got some tribe, and we will have battle, and yes it's time, don't you know it's time, we'll get our victory", he held his hand to me, and I took his for some eternal, intense seconds. It wasn't the idea of touching an idol, an object of admiration that filled me with joy and will to fight; it was being able to really communicate one by one for a split second with a figure I trust, that made it to my heart. At the end of a blissfull night, I headed with my friends toward the exit gate, filled with gratitude and realization that music has the power to change everything, to make sense out of all the pain in our lives.

1. Who Will
2. Sometimes It Snows In April (Prince's cover improv) > Bluebells
3. Damaris
4. The Bachelor
5. Tristan
6. Battle
7. The Stars
8. Paris
9. Hard Times
10. Like A Virgin (Madonna's improv) > The Magic Position > Che farò senza Euridice? (from Christoph Willibald Gluck's aria)

11. Kriegspiel
12. Vulture

A couple of things that I recalled Patrick saying during his banters: he said that the first time he'd been in Italy he was 11 years old, as a choirboy, singing in Duomo (Milan's Duomo, I guess). Just a confirmation of what he said to me after the concert in Sesto al Reghena: I got it right the first time!
And then he also revealed that he wrote The Magic Position in Italy!

The concert is online for the most part at this URL:
Patrick Wolf - Firenze 2009 part one

Patrick Wolf - Firenze 2009 part two

Gio 15 Ott – Patrick Wolf


  • _ritualord

    Bella recensione: hai acquarellato i momenti più intensi con il giusto dettaglio! Grande l'intuizione su Prince! Ora bisogna solo riuscire a scaricare quei due video! :-) magari con questo plug-in per Firefox si riesce. Rippare l'audio poi credo di saperlo fare

    18 okt 2009, 11:03
  • Trixie79

    Oddio mi sono venuti i brividi leggendo la tua recensione:devi *assolutamente* pubblicarla sul sito!!!Anche in italiano se vuoi,come ti pare (a proposito,complimentissimi per il tuo inglese)... E' molto bella perché è sentita e secondo me esprime bene quello che la musica di Patrick rappresenta per i fans,omo o etero che messaggio è "just be yourselves". Grazie per questo tuo intervento! :)

    18 okt 2009, 14:24
  • GraceMuse

    *_* brilliant!

    18 okt 2009, 14:41
  • Babooshko

    Son contento di aver reso la grande emozione della serata: mai mi sarei immaginato che, al terzo concerto in soli tre mesi, Patrick potesse sorprendermi così tanto, specialmente sul piano più "umano" che mi lega a lui. Se dici che può interessare, la traduco in italiano e te la lascio volentieri per il sito (che è fantastico, by the way). Come ha detto anche l'amico Beppi: già mi manca, il Patrick!

    18 okt 2009, 14:42
  • _ritualord

    già, chissà quando tornerà *sniff*

    18 okt 2009, 16:44
  • Trixie79

    certo che interessa,il sito è aperto ai contributi di tutti e come ho già detto questa recensione è proprio bella! Anzi già che ci sono ti chiederei anche le precedenti...quando hai tempo eh!Me le puoi mandare in privato qui su e io o la Morena provvederemo ;) Grazie!

    18 okt 2009, 19:23
  • violent_female

    That's a great review. Can't wait to see him on 7th Nov!

    19 okt 2009, 04:22
  • myhotpink

    concordo con Tati, voglio questa recensione sul sito!

    19 okt 2009, 11:33
  • steehphotograph

    complimenti per la recensione dettagliata, come sempre (:

    19 okt 2009, 16:16
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