Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley Concert of Awesome!

The concert was at the El Rey in Los Angeles on the Saturday before Halloween. I really wanted to dress up, but didn't have a lot of time to throw together a costume. So I wore the brain slug I wore for Comic Con. Lazy costume, yes, but a surprising amount of people recognized it.

Anway, opening the gig was the Petrojvic Blasting Company, who are an Eastern European brass band with a jazzy, cabaret feel. I must say that brass instruments really don't need to miked, but their songs were delightful and fun. My favorite song was Princess Andy.

The Jane Austen Argument came up next, who I had heard of from Amanda's latest album Amanda Goes Down Under. They are comprised of Tom Dickins on vocals and ukulele and Jen Kingwell on piano and vocals. They started with the song Under the Rainbow, about the implications of Tom Dickon's parents first meeting acting in The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy and the Scarecrow. I was immediately moved by this song, the ending nearly bringing me to tears. It's so beautiful and angry and sorrowful all at once with allusions to The Wizard of Oz throughout. Tom's voice has an amazing range and depth to it. I've been completely obsessed with this song and have been playing it over and over from their EP like some crazy person. They are incredibly talented and I hope they come to Southern California again soon.

In between sets, they played Halloween themed music at huge decibels for the crowd to enjoy. One of the highlights was the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Practically everyone (except for a few people around me) were doing a very small version of the time warp (as it was a very crowded and sold out show) and singing along. Those people who stayed silent did so for the entire concert and it's just odd to me. I don't know if they were unaffected by the perfomances or cared about looking stupid, but that's the experience of going to a concert like this. I screamed and sang and danced and clapped until by the end of the night I was completely exhausted and sore, but I felt the magic that live performances bring, where the crowd ceases to be individuals and instead becomes one amorphous, joined by our energy, enjoyment, and love of music.

Anyway, next up was Jason Webley, half of Evelyn Evelyn and master accordianist. His energy was boundless as he sang and danced while playing accordian. His style of music is folk and alternative performed in innovative ways. He came out with his band banging out rhythms with shovels and drum sticks, preluding my favorite song Dance While the Sky Crashes Down (mixed with Halloween). I love how it's played like a tango, but it's actually a song about the apocalypse.

He also played a medley of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Thriller, continuing in the Halloween spirit, along with some of his other songs such as Map and There's Not a Step We Can Take. My favorite part of the set was how he included the audience in his songs. In one song, we were the orchestra, singing background parts. In another, he threw out water bottles with rocks in them for people to shake to the beat. In others, we simply clapped. It just made me feel more a part of the music.

After a small interlude of Halloween music (I believe it was Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's Dead and This is Halloween), Amanda Palmer took the stage. Her electric presence and her raw, emotional singing and piano playing commanded the attention of the crowd. She played some songs from her albums, such as Ampersand, Astronaut, Map of Tasmania, Girl Anachronism, and In My Mind. Although I love these songs, I enjoy the more unexpected songs like covers and newly composed songs. My favorite of her covers was Rebecca Black's Friday, except she changed it to reflect the view of a truck stop hooker. She took a completely vapid, frankly horrible song and gave it depth and horrifying implications.

The newly composed song she debuted was called Judy Blume. This song should seriously be the YA Saves theme song. Palmer is asked all the time what her influences are and she never thought of Judy Blume as an influence, but she was affected by her books as a teen and never made the connection until now. I completely relate the song. I may not remember every single drama I went through or every single friend I had as a kid, but I remember reading The Wizard of Oz, The Vampire Diaries, and the Goosebumps and Fear Street books that helped me through my problems and sometimes acted as an escape for me.

For the encore, Jason and Amanda sang songs together. I was hoping for Evelyn and Evelyn songs, but they sang other songs. The first was Icarus, one of my favorite songs by Webley. Then all the musicians came onstage and we all sang a drinking song together. At first it was a failure because we weren't all drunk, so they had us spin around 11 times looking at our finger in the air to get good and dizzy to sing the song. I love that in the video the person actually spun around and swayed with their neighbors so the viewer can get the full effect.

All in all, it was an awesome show that I enjoyed immensely. I can't wait for these groups to return to Southern California!

1 comment:

M.A.D. said...

You lucky brain slug, you lol ;D
That concert had to be awesome, glad you got to attend and thanks for sharing the fun!!!