Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

Last night I had the privilege to see a nice intimate (and free) performance at SoundFix in which Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls performed to promote her new solo album, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" It was crowded and hot and we were sitting on the floor (so we could actually see, which was a nice change from when I saw Regina Spektor there), but I enjoyed every minute of it. That is, until the freaking cops showed up to shut us down (at 9pm on a Friday) because the evil neighbors are apparently trying to shut Sound Fix down.

Amanda was talkative and hilarious, regaling us in between songs with stories of her family, making the video for Leeds United, Margaret Cho, making the record with Ben Folds, and other miscellaneous things. While she didn't get to perform many songs (thanks neighbors), it was a really great "getting to know Amanda" experience. And of course her performance was great. She switched from her keyboard to the piano because her keyboard didn't sound good through the SoundFix sound system and she was banging on the piano with such fervor that she broke a hammer. After the show, she signed autographs, talked to people and took pictures. It was really great how much time she spent with each person (though those of us toward the back of the line didn't really think so at first... haha). I have to admit I got a little starstruck, like a schoolgirl with a crush.

As for the album, I have to say I actually have a really hard time listening to it. It's so dark, dramatic and emotional - it really affects me every time I listen to it. Every song is just so beautiful but almost every one makes me really emotional. I teared up a few times at Amanda's performances. Not surprisingly, my favorite song is the slightly less heart-wrenching track on the album, - the ironically playful Oasis (still about serious shit though but to an upbeat Beach Boys like tune). My other favorites: the dramatic but fast-paced Astronaut: A Short History Of Nearly Nothing, and the haunting, quiet song about the Columbine shootings, Strength Through Music that literally brought tears to my eyes when I saw Amanda perform it in Boston. I also have to say I was pleasantly surprised to the vocals of Annie Clark (St. Vincent) on What's The Use Of Wond'rin? though in retrospect I think I remember hearing that she was going to be on the album. And of course I missed Brian Viglione's presence at the show and on the album, but they are both such talented individuals that their separate endeavors are just as good as when they're together.

Leeds United [mp3]
Purchase "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" on iTunes

P.S. I have to say to those who live in Williamsburg - call your community board and tell them how great SoundFix is and how it's an asset to the neighborhood so that they (one of the rapidly dwindling numbers of independent record stores left in the country) won't get shut down. They need your support right now.

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