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"It makes me very sad when I find out that people who never hear our music think that we are really about image and not about substance," Palmer said.
"I can understand why you might get that impression if you’ve never heard the band’s music and see a photo of a guy and a girl dressed up in crazy costumes and think, ‘I don’t need to pay attention to that — why do they need to wear those crazy clothes? Our live show is so intense and so substantive and emotional that it’s sort of the price we have to pay for being so flamboyant — we have to prove ourselves as a rock band." Palmer and band mate Brian Viglione have been perfecting their eccentric stage act since 2001, when they began performing on the streets and stages of Boston.
As the Black Freighter ships off to sea, and Jenny whispers that “On it is me,” the hall is perfectly quiet.
A girl shouts “I love you Amanda.” A man shouts “I love you Brian.” The Long sisters, friends of Amanda’s, both made up dead, Casey with a bullet-hole in her forehead, Danni’s face a mess of stage blood, come and stand beside me.
I tried to see them once, in 2005, when they played Sundance, but I had a press conference when they were on, and I watched Nellie Mc Kay instead. Brian talks about why it was time for them to stop: “Why constantly fight? She’s happy that they are playing to 1200 people who would never have seen them otherwise.
When I started going out with Amanda I asked about the Dresden Dolls. She holds my hand, introduces me to the man who introduced her and Brian at a Hallowe’en party exactly a decade before, and slips back into the shadows.
The first encore: Brian’s on guitar, Amanda’s now wearing a golden bra, crawling out onto the speaker-stacks to sing “Mein Herr” from Cabaret.
Then a crazed, wonderful improvisation that slowly crashes into Amanda’s song about parents, “Half Jack.” “They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” said Philip Larkin long before either of the Dresden Dolls were born, in a line that sounded like it could have swaggered out of an Amanda Palmer song, and “Half Jack” is just all about that.
I’m starting to understand why she went on her first tour with a dance troupe, even though it guaranteed the tour would make no money, why she would go on tour as conjoined twins with Jason Webley and a single dress that fitted both of them.The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer is a true entertainer: the bisexual front woman of the cabaret-punk duo doesn’t just wear outfits — she dons costumes and stage makeup to accompany her charismatic and playful performances.Her typical stage look is in the vein of a gothic pinup girl, and when she’s pounding on her piano, there’s no chance the focus could be on anyone else.Amanda goes into the chords of “Coin-Operated Boy,” a song that too often, solo, feels like a novelty song, and, played by Amanda and Brian together it brings the house down: less of a song and more of an act of symbiosis, as they try to wrong-foot each other.It’s funny and it’s moving and it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen.