Saturday, August 10, 2013

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra @ Damrosch Bandshell at Lincoln Center

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra
@ Damrosch Bandshell at Lincoln Center
New York, NY - August 9, 2013

The Dresden Dolls were one of the first bands to catch my ear during the heyday of the early and mid 2000's often discussed here. And they played Gotham seemingly every few weeks. But I never went. For all my minor interest in Weimar Three Penny cabaret rock, the definitely palpable aura of teenagerish exclusivity for goth art obsessives kept me away (that's on me, no one else). Then the Dresden Dolls slowly broke-up and in her own solo name, Amanda Palmer took her verbal, confident style and sound to another level, as the cliche goes. But that was nothing. Because then Theatre is Evil happened.

A rock record in every good, true sense, Theatre is Evil is one for the canon. And seeing her live for the first time, it's also true that Amanda Palmer as a performer is also one for that canon. The Grand Theft Orchestra, a backing band that includes Jherek Bischoff, merited getting named on the record for a reason. "Want It Back" and "The Killing Type", anthems for sure, drove the show. A cameo appearance by Brian Viglione and a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"gave the show an element of immensity and rock n roll spontaneity. And those sometimes awful concert transitions to the acoustic were rendered excellent with Amanda's two segments of ukelele, both the very heavy serious first segment and the encore of one of the best written songs of the last couple years, an ode to the ukelele itself. In between the opening acts - cabaret showgirls - came on for a combined showstopper, right down to the can-can dancing chorus-line kicks. And yet this was rock 'n roll. Brother was it rock n' roll.


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