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Ever had an time where you'd written off whatever you were doing and were then surprised? That was me last night. By the time the show was two-thirds over, I had resigned myself to marking tonight as the least enjoyable of the half-dozen or so shows of the Dolls/ Amanda Palmer since first seeing the Dolls in early 2004 in this tiny club in Chapel Hill: still a good show, but..the mix was off with the subs too hot and the horns from the opening / backing band mixed too quiet. I took some pics for a couple of ongoing projects (no flash, long exposure, covering the video screen on the back as too bright) while I was there anyway, enjoying the show but not absorbed in it. However the onstage energy ran high, and they went for some truly gutsy moves toward the end of the show that amazed me and I ended up walking out going "Wow". If you weren't there I am sorry that the overpowering subwoofers crushed my field recorder mic and what I have from last night is unlistenable.

The venue had put chairs out for seating, but the band got rid of those when they got in. Accordingly a sold-out show suddenly had eighty to a hundred tickets for sale, and we were asked to call or text anyone we knew who hadn't come because the show had been sold out since Monday.

Nervous Cabaret, the openers, came as a complete surprise.



(Yes, they sounded sort of like that picture looks :). ) (I normally research an opening band: wikipedia, band bio, current recording, founding concept, etc. etc. etc. I realized tonight that I consistently don't bother with AFP/Dolls shows, which is an interesting bit of behavior I should probably think about why I don't bother - I know it's not that I don't care. Is it a trust issue?) My friend L said they reminded her of Sublime, I heard Squirrel Nut Zippers (with a bit of Radiohead in song composition), summed them as "Sublime meets SNZ". Trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass guitar, drumkit. Not bad.

Amanda Palmer processed in with Nervous Cabaret who stayed on stage as her backing band. Opened with a raucous "Missed Me" with added horns changing the feel of the song, then did Astronaut, and I wasn't taking set list.

Good performance of "Mrs. O"(which, for a really complicated set of reasons, I personally associate with Mrs. Havisham of _Great Expectations_, specifically the Mrs. Havisham of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next stories) - the addition of horns was interesting throughout the show. (On a personal note I did not, again, get "The Perfect Fit" which is one of my DD favorites and I don't think I've ever heard her do that live. Sigh. Some day.)





So near the end, they started into "Mandy Goes To Med School", but Amanda decided to stretch the song with a middle filler of the hidey-hidey-hidey-hi sequence from "Minnie the Moocher". I saw _The Blues Brothers_ far too many times, and my single favorite moment is when Cab Calloway spins on his heel and his beauty black suit changes to a white tux in tails, so that was the point they had me last night.

(Someone got a video with good audio of Amanda Palmer with the Nervous Cabaret doing "House of the Rising Sun" last week in Brooklyn, with a ten-minute version of "Mandy Goes to Med School" including solos from the band members and a briefer than last night Minnie the Moocher interlude)



They finished the encore set with a stunning straight-up cover of "The House of the Rising Sun" that was awesome. Then they came back for more encore. Oh, here:



Then they got into this schtick of Grease mashed up with the Doors. Amanda started tinkling away on keys with the melody for "Summer Loving" from Grease - but she and the trombone player duetted with the lyrics of the Doors "The End" as Olivia Newton-John would have sung them. "The killer awoke before *dawn*! He put his *boots* on!" and so on.

Just under two hours on stage, not counting the Nervous Cabaret's opening set. Solid long show, well worth going. I was impressed.

Bought both albums of the Nervous Cabaret to see if they sounded better with a different mix, and they do :). Nice work, folks.

Hello to everyone: my friend L who took me to the show as a belated birthday present, and to [livejournal.com profile] lunablack, [livejournal.com profile] mdm_sosostris, [livejournal.com profile] infinitehotel, [livejournal.com profile] ellybug, [livejournal.com profile] luke_campagnola, [livejournal.com profile] neurochemistry, and [livejournal.com profile] theoofthewired. Dinner at Carrburritos beforehand, first time for me there.

#######
M is out today beading, and I have a little prep needed for tonight's house concert that won't take me long. Thinking what to do today.

Date: 2009-11-21 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ovrclokd.livejournal.com
okay... you've finally tipped me over the edge into actively wanting to see amanda palmer. i'll try to keep an eye out for her on your Massive List Of Everything What's Happening, but just in case - next time she comes through, will you poke me, please? :)

Date: 2009-11-21 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badger.livejournal.com
Of course I will :). Seriously, even with the first two-thirds of the show being the worst (or tied) of hers I've seen, if it hadn't improved I would still have walked out feeling good about the show. But the last forty-five minutes of the night were amazing. I will be back for the next show, and the next...

Date: 2009-11-21 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theoofthewired.livejournal.com
Agreed on the levels - brass was much too quiet. And yes, the last few things she played were excellent. I especially loved where she added "You're the one that I want!" in the midst of Coin Operated Boy. She showed herself to be an excellent performer and I'll catch her next time she comes by.

My one gripe with the show was with the photographers; some people used ultra-bright flashes and I was blinded at 5-second intervals until I gave up and pulled my hood over my eyes.

Date: 2009-11-21 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badger.livejournal.com
I think the brass being more audible would have improved my opinion of the show. I bought both Nervous Cabaret albums and they sound great on CD, so I think it was last night's mix and not them by any means. (I also talked with them afterward: very nice guys, great people, I'd like to see them again if they come through.)

I avoid flash almost completely, but that is part of my personal mindset, background, and orientation.

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