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patrick wolf, cottiers, glasgow

"Can I have a bit more harp, please?" Patrick Wolf is in the building.

He's jumping between piano, ukelele, viola, harp and an instrument I don't even recognise, showing his versatility on all of them while singing in a voice that's by turns yearning (shivering with echoes of Mark Hollis and David Sylvian) and full-on yodel. In short, he is a star. Well, in everything except actual stardom.

It's possible now that his chance of that has gone. When such a brazen come-on single as his 2007 offering The Magic Position didn't make him a household name, probably nothing will. He is condemned to play the role of the exotic musician out on the margins for the rest of his days.

In a freezing cold Cottiers on Sunday, dressed in mediaeval puffed shirt and laced-up boots, he brought a whiff of Bloomsbury era decadence to the evening, while ignoring or gently mocking the constant stream of Glaswegians who seemed to need toilet breaks after every song.

But it's a bit depressing that British pop culture no longer takes such a pop dandy to its heart. That seems to be reserved for the female of the species. So expect to see more of his support act, Abi Wade – a glorious, wailing cellist in a jumpsuit, who even at her fussiest managed an itchy thrill and prompted memories of everyone from Kate Bush to Joanna Newsom.

Where does that leave Wolf? A secret thrill. A Derek Jarman-style pin-up. A man out of time. A ruffled-sleeve-wearing troubadour who sings his heart out and makes a giant, giddy, chamber pop noise that only the chosen few get to hear. They're the lucky ones.

HHHH

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