Not many rock stars would risk ending their encore with a cover of Radiohead’s Creep, on ukelele, without a microphone. But then, Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame isn’t your average rock star.
Palmer, with support from uber-capable violinist and cellist, and Brisbane’s own Danger Ensemble, wowed and wooed a comfortably full Tivoli tonight on her Who Killed Amanda Palmer? tour, supporting her debut solo album of the same name.
The theatre’s old-world charm was the perfect complement for the bohemian charm of the Boston performer and her support cast, supplemented by an excellent light show.
Palmer is a honey, sassy and friendly and witty, and just a little dangerous. You know you’re in for a treat when she rises from her piano stool to give the keys her all, and showing a generous flash of well-formed cleavage in the process. Palmer is not shy. You just have to read her blog from her recent Sydney show to see that. Better yet, listen to her music.
Ampersand is one of my favourites, though it was Oasis — blacklisted in Britain for its ironic take on date rape and abortion — that got a huge ovation. And there was a good-hearted singalong for Dresden Doll hits Coin-Operated Boy and Girl Anachronism.
Palmer possesses a distinctive voice, low and gravelled; she puts her emotion into every song, whether upbeat and rockin’ or so slow and maudlin; and she knows how to play a crowd. She clearly loves performing — the interplay between her and her band was a joy — and appreciates that her music is making a mark. When was the last time a singer stopped the show to take questions from the audience? Or promised to move the signing session onto the street if need be, to make sure everyone got their chance?
I was impressed, too, by the Danger Ensemble; I was afeared the use of an acting troupe would detract from the music, but used sparingly and for effect, it was not only a way to enhance the show and the songs, but to break down the barrier between performer and singer. Clever.
The good news is, Palmer is hopeful of spending a solid couple of months in Australia, maybe in our summer. She’s certainly one peformer we’d like to see more of. 😉
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