BWW Reviews: AMANDA PALMER Brought Her Unique Style to Her Many Adelaide Fans

Reviewed Sunday 22nd September 2013

Punk cabaret star, Amanda Palmer, formerly one half of the duo, The Dresden Dolls, performed in Adelaide for one night only, with two great support acts. Her fans turned out en masse, and a very mixed crowd it was, too, with younger people in punk outfits and with painted faces, and more mature people dressed sedately.

The Thebarton Theatre had left the floor clear, expecting the audience to dance in this huge "mosh pit", but these were not your average rock bands, the normal bill of fare at this venue, these were cabaret artists, and so the audience simply stood and listened and, of course, laughed and applauded.

The first performers on the bill were the German siblings, Astrid Rot, on drums and vocals, and Otto Rot, on guitar and vocals, collectively known as the comedy rock group, Die Roten Punkte (they are actually two Australians, Clare Bartholomew and Daniel Tobias). These two have visited Adelaide before, for the annual Fringe in February and March, and have built up a strong following, as well as garnering critical acclaim. It was clear that there were many of their fans in the audience, as happy to see them as they were to see Amanda Palmer. Her guitarist, Chad Raines, also joined in.

Their set was bright, lively and very funny, interspersed with some great playing on several of their comic numbers. They really do play their instruments very well indeed. The interplay dialogue between the two is snappy, and they exhibit excellent comic timing. Their popular number, Burger Store Dinosaur, had an airing, and Otto even had a chance to demonstrate speed eating, wolfing down a banana as a lead in to Bananenhaus (Banana House), while Astrid sang about a Second Best Friend.

They then announced that they were being joined by Amanda Palmer for Ich Bin Nicht Ein Roberter (I Am Not a Robot (I am a Lion)), and a huge cheer went up. When the audience saw her tee-shirt, black with large white lettering proclaiming F--K TONY ABBOTT, the cheers doubled. She was right on the money with that slogan, with so many Australians immensely dissatisfied with our new Prime Minister and his retrograde ideas.

After a short break, the next act was the bassist in Amanda Palmer's band, Jherek Bischoff, on either bass, guitar, or ukulele, with a few of his own compositions, accompanied by a very fine string quartet led by first violin, Belinda Gehlert, who is also first violin with the very popular Adelaide chamber group, The Zephyr Quartet. With her were Janet Anderson, second violin, Jason Thomas, viola, and Brionhy Taylor, cello. It was greatly encouraging to see the younger members of the audience crowding near the stage, standing silently to here this section of the concert. Speaking to a few people during the second interval revealed that they truly loved the music. One person declared after, in fact, that she thought it had been the best part of the concert.

Another short break and Amanda Palmer, after a touch of sexy comedy from a warm up duo, took to the stage with her band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. She, of course, sings and plays keyboards and ukulele, as it seems does just about everybody now, caught up in the renewed interest in this instrument. The others in her band were Jherek Bischoff (bass, backing vocals), Chad Raines (lead guitar, banjo, backing vocals, programming), and Thor Harris, who replaced Michael McQuilken, (drums, guitar, backing vocals). These versatile musicians swapped instruments all evening, creating a wide range of sounds through these diverse arrangements.

Palmer pleased the audience by stepping off of the stage to walk amongst them, and to body surf, during the first couple of numbers. As well as covering a few songs by others, she drew on her new album, Theatre is Evil, for some of the songs, but also made her fans very happy by including some of their favourites, getting a spontaneous sing-along to Map of Tasmania. There was also a great reception for one of her Dresden Dolls songs, perhaps the best known of all of them, Miss Me.

Song followed song with such a intriguing mixture of numbers such as, From St Kilda to Fitzroy, Noah Britton's I Love You So Much, Bottomfeeder, Pulp's Common People, Do It With A Rockstar, Gaga, Palmer, Madonna, The Killing Type, Want it Back, Girl Anachronism, and many more, all followed by immense applause.

An encore was, of course, called for amidst the cheering and applause at the end of the concert, and Palmer brought Die Roten Punkte back on stage for a rendition of Sweet Dreams, the Eurhythmic's song. Another huge round of applause and the audience reluctantly, and slowly, left the venue, hanging around long enough to catch a glimpse of Palmer when she came in to the foyer, where some more music ensued, and she signed CDs. There was no doubt that everybody had had a great night out.

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From This Author Barry Lenny

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