Tuesday, June 30, 2009

amanda palmer @ the troubadour

You know it's going to be a weird night when you see both the recently deceased King of Pop and king of pop parodies, Weird Al in the same place.

Par for course when Amanda Palmer is involved. The princess of punk cabaret, only one thing's for certain when catching her live -- you'll never see the same show twice. Well that and when the weird starts raining down, no one's going to so much as blink.

Material from last year's beautiful and occasionally heedy masterpiece Who Killed Amanda Palmer was kept to a minimum, keeping the show from becoming a repeat of her December show at the Henry Fonda. Without only “Ampersand,” “Runs in the Family,” “Astronaut,” and “Oasis” making the cut, it left a lot of time up in the air -- not that it was a problem!

Again -- Amanda may claim that she has trouble not repeating herself...but try telling that to the sold-out room who would have been happy with anything she cared to try...even blatant repetition. And goodness knows, if there's one thing Amanda cares to try, it's limit pushing. Covers were the order of the night. From the whisper-sung ukulele version of Bright Eye's "Lua," to the shout along Avril Lavigne "Complicated," to the hushed Leonard Cohen classic, “Hallelujah" to the natural choice, "Billie Jean" by Micheal Jackson, a bevy genres were covered -- all with Amanda's trademark melancholic-joie-de-vie.

Of course, with Amanda Palmer, you're never going to get "just" music. She's a storyteller damnit! This time we were treated to two rounds of "Ask Amanda" where the audience, obsessed with her newly announced relationship with author Neil Gaiman, forced Amanda to answer several potentially embarrassing questions about their relationship, including “What is your favorite body part of Neil Gaiman?” The final answer—“His hair is an amazing, chaotic halo of life. But I think I like his smile best.”—elicited coos from the audience.

Of course, it only seems natural that the project that brought Gaiman and Amanda together was heavily advertised...not that anyone seemed to mind. A coffee table photo/story book, Who Killed Amanda Palmer couples pictures of "The Late Amanda Palmer" with stories about her grizzly deaths written by Gaiman. The show halted in favor of story time, a move that would have derailed a concert by a lesser artist. However, with Amanda as our narrator, you could have heard a pin drop. The final nail in the coffin, seeing Amanda Palmer live time and time again proves that, as a dead girl, she simply kills.

mp3: "Ampersand (live)" by Amanda Palmer
mp3: "On The Radio (Regina Spektor cover)" by Amanda Palmer
mp3: "Umbrella (Rihanna cover)" Amanda Palmer
mp3: "I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Death Cab For Cutie cover) " by Amanda Palmer

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