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Concert Fri May 04 2007

Amy Winehouse/Patrick Wolf At The Vic

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My mother-in-law would take one look at Amy Winehouse and declare her a poor soul. It's hard to define that term, since the poor souls she's usually referring to are neither poor nor particularly soulful. But when it comes to Amy Winehouse I expect she's right. Her very public battle with alcohol abuse, issues with her weight, ex-boyfriends and her professionalism have seemingly started to take their toll. In fact her offstage antics seem to have taken over her onstage persona. As a result many in the audience at last night's Vic Theater show were as concerned with "will she or won't", "is she or isn't she", and "oh no she didn't"/"oh yes she did" than with whether she was hitting the right note, coming in on cue or flubbing her lines.

At last night's show she was on the edge: the edge of consciousness, boredom and a truly wonderful performance. But for me her public persona got in the way of really enjoying the music. And the music was pretty great, in fact, it turned out it was virtually guaranteed. That's because the Amy Winehouse juggernaught has hired, arguably the best Motown and classic r`n'b band in the country, The Dap Kings (of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fame seen performing here on Conan in 2005). This ten piece band was hired after showcasing with Amy Winehouse recently in Austin and LA. While this new arrangement is clearly a temporary paid gig for the band, it's hard to argue with their professionalism, attire and general all around funkiness. So no matter what show Amy Winehouse performed, the rowdy and eclectic sold-out crowd at the Vic was guaranteed a good time.

Thankfully Amy barely kept it all together and after a show that was full of fits and starts in the beginning of the set and unintelligible banter in the middle, became by the end of night (and coincidentally with the performance of her hit song "Rehab"), a pretty joyous event in line with the music she's chosen to emulate and update.

[mp3]: Amy Winehouse - Rehab Hot Chip Remix (via Prefix Magazine)

Opener Patrick Wolf apparently has his own demons to deal with. Last week, in what became the internet music story du jour, Patrick announced that he was retiring from the demands of touring and the repetitiveness and banality of dealing with the press. This story was widely quoted, misquoted and repeated on sites like Stereogum, Spin, Idolator and Pitchfork. He's taken it all back now, but for some I guess the damage has already been done.

At last night's show Patrick inexplicably started on time at 7:30 and plowed through a short half-hour set. He was accompanied by a pretty interesting array of musicians and instruments including an electric violin, a double bass that was plucked and bowed, drums, guitar and a guy on beats/synths. Dressed and made up as a kind of giant red leprechaun, Patrick is clearly a fan of the theaterical as found in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Smiths, Final Fantasy, The Cure, possibly the musical Stomp and maybe even early Duran Duran. I liked his set, it was campy and fun. Beyond that I'm at a loss for words. He closed his set with the title track from his recent release, The Magic Position. It all seemed like good clean pop fun, but somehow I think it wasn't.

[mp3]: Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position (via Pitchfork)

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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