Friday, December 12, 2008

The Belated "Who killed Amanda?" Post

Every now and then, I get really excited by an artist. Like when Sarah Silverman says "his brisket is beyond...beyond." Like that. I get beyond...beyond. Last year around this time, it was Regina Specter. Still quite happy about her (especially since moving from "Begin to Hope" to "Soviet Kitsch") but I've found a new love.

So I was at Amanda Palmer's concert at the Avalon, which first of all... have you ever been to the Avalon? The first act was all right, I think--and by 'I think,' I mean 'I have no effing clue,' because it sounded like they were being piped through a long tunnel lined with half-empty tuna cans.

Speaking of tuna cans, I was there with my boyfriend's boyfriend Bradley Giuliani, who gave me a sound verbal beating for whining about the cold which we waited in unnecessarily for nearly an hour before the doors opened. The venue never filled quite to capacity, unless the capacity limit heralds back to the theatre's movie days--back when Charlie Chaplin rolled his eyes up and smiled sweetly through that darling mustache.

But I digress. Venue: cold, windy, large, modestly populated. Acoustics: miserable. Opening act: ??? I do remember cracking jokes with Brad on hearing such lyrics as "I'm going down in the black elevator of death..." or something like that. Hard core emo dressed up as indie/alternative. What fun.

Second act was clearly gorgeous but obviously warped by the insufficient speakers. Zoe Keating, cellist of amazing talent who overlays her own performance aided by the marvels of modern music technology, was sufficiently amazing to make me hate the much younger audience (-than me, definitely -than Brad) when they lost patience and started talking during the second and third songs. No such restlessness was displayed later in the night, however. Oh, no.

Fortunately things seemed to go better sound-wise when AFP made her highly impossible appearance (we were assured many times that she had, in fact, died), elbowed her way through the crowd (at least that's the way Brad tells it) threw off her shroud and attacked the piano in a way that made me a bit lustful.

The Danger Ensemble, an Australian improv? troupe, illuminated her text with at times pitch-perfect performances: disturbing, delightful animatronica for "Coin Operated Boy" and crazed, coordinated fans for "Guitar Hero" (I was cynically amused to see members of the audience around me picking up on some of the moves and dancing along), sometimes bordering on melodramatic (showering fake snow on a tortured Blake for "Blake Says" and falling to the ground slow-mo for the Columbine tribute "Strength Through Music") but definitely adding to the show.

It was basically a kick-ass show. Couldn't have made me love her music more, I almost NEED it (I don't need it, I don't need it, Amanda, I swear...) but it was a great experience and left me with a different impression of the artiste than I got from the music alone, and very different than I got from the multiple music videos, all of which are available on youtube. Thank you once again Bradley (*smirk*). As always your contributions are vital.
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