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Patrick Watson @ Postbahnhof (24.11.2009)
Patrick Watson and the Wooden Arms pulled Postbahnhof into an alternate reality on Tuesday night. He, and his talented support, filled the hall with exuberantly chaotic, yet intrinsically delicate songs. The untamed, howling nature of the songs, intertwined with gracefully interspersed piano melodies, was pulled together by the incredibly tight percussion of heavy bass beats and tinkling bells and chimes. Depending on the requirement of the songs, the string quartet (consisting of two violins, one voila, and one cello) slipped in and out of the fog that floated above the stage.
The atmosphere was one of a circus apparently on the brink of anarchy, but which is actually flawlessly organized and continuously reined back to order. From this balance, a feeling of magic and wonder emerged, obviously capturing and enthralling the audience. The end of each song was filled with wild cheers and delight.
The creativity and passion of Watson beamed out of him. He would transition from singing into the microphone, using a megaphone (incorporating a plunger-mute), and using only his hands to amplify his voice. He would languidly move between the microphone, front and center, and the piano on the side of the stage. Between songs he would make jokes with the rest of the band and tell amusing stories to the audience, evidently having as good of a time as the crowd.
Coming back on stage for the encore, Watson carried an odd contraption on his back. It was a sort of back-pack with lamps careening off of it, like the tentacles of some deep sea creature. He slipped into the crowd and sang into the megaphone while the rest of his band accompanied him acoustically on stage. Standing in the center of the crowd everyone around him began to sing along with the harmonies. The sounds emerging from this creature of the deep, the lamps on his back surfacing from the sea of people was eerie. Appropriately enough, he began the encore with "Man Under the Sea." In the middle of the second song, "Shame," Watson sprung back on stage and the hall once again exploded with a cacophony of electricity. The contrast between acoustic and electric emphasized the power of the song and of the abilities of the musicians, swinging dramatically between styles and sounds.
Leaving the stage again the crowd continued to encourage the group to return to the stage yet again. Finally doing so, Watson asked if they could play a new song that was written that day. Featuring two basses, the deep and heavy sound of this new material presented a dark and profound sound, despite their recent release of "Wooden Arms" I'm already eagerly anticipating what they have to offer on their next album.
Written by Brit-Maren Schjeide
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