Having recently chewed the fat with Patrick Wolf, we here at Clash are full of innovative ideas and what a great idea it was to watch him kick off his UK tour at Salford Quays, the media hub of the North. With a venue named after possibly one of the best artists to come out of the North West, it was rather fitting that Patrick embarked on his 10 year anniversary tour at The Lowry. Turning up at the correct venue on time counts for a lot in this industry, and thankfully Clash’s timekeeping is spot on, so much so that the talents of supporting act Abi Wade were fully appreciated.
Being a multi-instrumentalist is a talent in itself but having the vocals to enhance the performance further brings talent to another level. Abi Wade certainly possesses all these factors – her haunting vocals reverberating around the theatre amongst a deafly silent crowd. Yes, you heard correctly, a silent crowd for a support act – something you don’t come across very often. Her cello playing was captivating, used as a percussion instrument with drumsticks and the bow itself thumping against the body to create a complex web of sound whilst her fingers created the bass that complimented her vocals so very well. Holding similarities to Wolf, her modesty, musical ability and personality it is easy to see why Patrick has her as a supporting act. Think Florence Welsh without a Machine using acoustic instruments and you’ve just about got it.
Alas, with the Wolfpack out in force it was time for the Wolfman himself to grace us with his presence. Extravagantly dressed and sauntering toward the glossy grand piano, anyone could have been mistaken for thinking a musical was taking place. How wrong they would be, opening up about the difficulty of his teenage years and interacting with the audience about his musical struggles, we see a different side to Wolf, relaxed, at ease and jovial between songs. The ninety minutes was awash with atmosphere, emotion, and the deep and, at times, dark vocal we have all become accustomed to, taking hold of the theatre and the audience within it. Crowd favourites such as; Hard Times, Oblivion, and Wind In The Wires are stripped of their electro-pop roots being reinvented on the plethora of instruments that Patrick so effortlessly plays. The raging spotlight of yesteryear seems to have faded, but Wolf seems as content as ever with his current situation and tonight that shone through with the stunning vocal and instrumental performance he gave. The Wolfpack may be trudging home through the unforgiving Mancunian weather, but each one of the knows they have seen something special and as another decade beckons who knows what lies ahead for Patrick Wolf.
Words by Ben Gilligan