So back in October, which was only last month but feels like years ago, we ducked out of the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego to hit the gorgeous Birch Park North Theatre (it’s a lot lovelier and older and genteel than it sounds) to take in a show by the always entertaining Amanda Palmer.
As good as she was, largely arranging her set list by audience request and running a tighter show than usual, the night was made truly superb by the most excellent support bands: San Diego’s London Below and Melbourne’s Jane Austen Argument.
London Below, aka Tragic Tantrum, were a gothed up bunch made awesome by the operatic range and presence of their lead singer, Zoe Tantrum. They plumb the waters of ‘dark cabaret’, in the queue with the Dresden Dolls and Emilie Autumn and such, but distinctive enough to hold their own ground.
But the big buzz of the night was the Aussie duo, Jane Austen Argument, who have supported Palmer in Australia and popped down for the San Diego from Seattle, where they were recording their debut studio album, Somewhere Under the Rainbow, due out early next year.
Their first tune was met with silence. Then, from the front, a guy said, ‘wow’, and the room erupted, and kept erupting. To judge by the response, both to their set and then to a trio of songs during Palmer’s set, and then the throng still gathered around them as we left after the final curtain, the duo scored a theatre of fans.
They’re a fetching, modest act, with Jen Kingwell on keys and vocals and Tom Dickins holding centre stage with his amazing voice. Material played on the night suggests Somewhere Under the Rainbow is going to be a blinder.
That was then, this is later: the Dresden Dolls are touring in January, and on another musical matter of much excitement here, Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde fame is playing the Spiegeltent in Melbourne in March. I’m hoping for plenty of material from her awesome solo album, Scarred. The Blonde have recently posted new singles at CD Baby… wonderful stuff.