On Monday – the magic Halloween day – Dan and me travelled down to London. We went for the budget coach journey which, retrospectively, doesn’t look like the wisest choice. The coach arrived more than half an hour late in Cambridge with rain happily falling all the time, and things got worse with some traffic jam in northern London. On the other hand the coach’s route across London, through the City and then along the Thames to Victoria station was nice in a touristy way. After meeting John, dropping our stuff, having a rather nice kebab and picking up Po, we went to Scala where Patrick Wolf’s Halloween gig took place. While the gig had been sold out, our friends were right in their optimism that they could still get some tickets from hawkers. Which, obviously, was cool.
I think I’ve never gone out in London before as, invariably, my visits had been quite short, mid-week or to people who just didn’t want to go out. I thought the club was in a rather nice building and a pleasant place to be at. And the stage was decorated with Halloween-ish pumpkins which the audience was encouraged to bring along.
Support bands were Lishka, whom I found a bit dull at the beginning but who improved during their gig and were OK towards the end. They were followed by a guy (whose name I forgot) playing a giant brass instrument whose sounds were fed into some distortion and feedback machines. He just played a few long pieces and while I didn’t find them totally remarkable, I quite enjoyed listening to them. In some places the distorted echoes of what he played came back to cleverly match whatever he was playing a moment later as a second voice. Cool.
And then, Patrick Wolf came on. Unlike last year he wasn’t on stage alone with just his viola an computer but brought another violaist a proper drummer and some more help with him this time. This gave him enough time to sing and play some (electric) piano and his ukelele. He played many songs from Wind in the Wires and some of Lyncanthropy. And despite being an analogue type myself and there being a real drummer this time, I really preferred the songs with some electronic percussions in them, and so did my friends.
In total, each one of us really enjoyed the gig and it seemed that Patrick did as well. It’s good to see the performer happy at such an event as well. He ended his encore playing a new song which was quite cool and had some of the electronic goodness in it again that wasn’t too widely spread on the Wind in the Wires album. He said he’d be off working on more songs now and I’m curious to hear them once they’re out.
After leaving Scala around eleven – you’ve got to love those British licensing laws which let you come out of a gig with three bands at a time that bands start playing elsewhere – people looked for a snack which was a bit tricky to find seeing that all places were closed. So instead we managed to find a pub which still served drinks and did our best to ignore the hoards of drunk teenagers in Halloweeny constumes hanging out there. An extra snack was postponed until after our return to Po’s place. Pasta with green asparagus and bacon is an idea to remember….
I didn’t envy Po and John who had to get up really early the next day for work. They’re tough!