Computer-friendly folk wierdness from the 'new Bowie'

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Patrick Wolf : London E2 Arts Café

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Patrick Wolf : London E2 Arts Café

From the moment Patrick Wolf sweeps onto the stage, kneading an accordion and singing one of his lysergic fairy tales, it’s clear we’re in for an unusual treat. At just 20, this charismatic, lanky Londoner has cultivated an enviable reputation as the complete performer, a precociously talented musician whose endearing little-boy-lost demeanour belies his obvious self-confidence.

Rocking a natural look that’s part Calvin Klein hunk, part Pre-Raphaelite street urchin, Wolf seduces this loyal gathering of exotically bedraggled misfits with a captivating set of laptop-enhanced acoustic folk songs. Like, say, Ziggy Stardust-period Bowie, Wolf succeeds in sucking us into his personal Narnia because he’s an utterly convincing artist whom we want to believe has experienced all the surreal japes he sings about on ‘Bloodbeat’ and ‘A Boy Like Me’.

As accomplished and addictive as his debut album ‘Lycanthropy’ unquestionably is, nothing beats witnessing Wolf perform his versatile magic live, when blizzards of electronic noise smother once-delicate songs like ‘To The Lighthouse’ and Wolf does his spazzy dance, tumbling to the floor, grinning. You would, to look at him, consider him hopelessly unemployable in any other field. But that’s fine: in his chosen profession, he’s already a star.

Piers Martin