Live Review: “A Night of Winter” with Patrick Wolf, Serafina Steer at Oran Mor, 18/12/13

DSC_4780“Every song you hear tonight was written in the bleak season of winter…”

The season is bleak and a storm is a’ coming as Patrick Wolf addresses the crowds taking shelter in Oran Mor.

 

Tonight is part of a run of gigs leading up to the winter solstice, after a world tour celebrating the centenary of the prolific pop singer’s debut album.

On tour with him to open the night is fellow Londoner Serafina Steer, a singer with a harp, she plays a beautiful but slightly distracted set.

Her endearing manner may be part of her ethereal folk persona or it might be tuning problems and wine putting her off, whichever it is, standout tracks of lost love, like ‘Tiger’, please the audience.

When Wolf takes to the stage he is a gorgeous spectacle from beginning to end.

Wearing a nativity scene t-shirt and flicking his trademark fringe, he powers through a varied and long set, the first half an hour or so is comprised of new songs written on his recent travels.

He is in absolute command with his powerful vocals; and switches between electric viola, guitar, harp, synthesisers, and even some beats made on an Atari computer.

The lack of drum-kit is explained by time spent in Russia where drums are apparently superfluous to the crowd’s stamping and clapping.

This Russian influence is heard in ‘The Libertine’, a dramatic anthem about freedom, which has been re-worked for most recent album, the acoustic Sundark and Riverlight.

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Repeatedly expressing enthusiasm about being in Scotland, Wolf relates the lyrics to Scottish independence, wishing the audience “good luck with it”.

Towards the end of the night he throws down the set-list and takes requests for older tracks such as ‘This Weather’.

An encore of a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ and Wolf’s feel-good hit ‘Magic Position’ brightens up this cold night once and for all.

More photos

Words: Ellen MacAskill
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

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