Amanda Palmer at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA, June 25th, 2009

Jun 29, 2009 Amanda Palmer
Bookmark and Share

Thursday June 25th at seven p.m., I saw Michael Jackson on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. across from the Troubadour. We didn’t exchange pleasantries. To be honest, clutching a withered “I love you” balloon, single tear streaking out of his left eye; he looked like he’d had a hard day. Even for an Amanda Palmer concert—a place where marauding punks, theater geeks, and other characters that would make my mother nervous, flock to with almost a religious fervor—it was weird.

Shortly after the first song of the evening, a ukulele version of Bright Eyes’ “Lua” delivered from the balcony, Palmer herself confirmed my suspicions. “This is going to be a weird night…” Uh yeah, it started by encountering fake King of Pop! off to my right, the bushy head of the King of Fake Pop, Weird Al Yankovic, nodded in agreement. Yes, weird.

Then again, when at an Amanda Palmer show, a certain amount of the strange, weird, and wonderful is to be expected. Performance style honed from her duties with Brechtian punk duo The Dresden Dolls, solo Amanda Palmer gigs are an assemblage of punk attitude, brash musicality, and uncensored emotion—the gestalt of which assuring that, even when there hasn’t been a day of national mourning, you’ll never get the same show twice.

Offering up an evening of catharsis, material from Palmer’s solo debut Who Killed Amanda Palmer was kept to a minimum, despite clear audience approval of album highlights “Ampersand,” “Runs in the Family,” “Astronaut,” and, at a fervent request, kids-will-be-kids song “Oasis.” Palmer, refusing to play it safe, or to provide a simple retread of her December Los Angeles concert at The Henry Fonda Theater, treated the audience to several solo-reworkings of Dresden Doll songs. Among the list of favorites, Palmer slipped in a rarity from their first album A is for Accident, “Bank of Boston Beauty Queen,”—which contained a line any pseudo-adult can appreciate—“I may be living in la la land, but at least I’m not living at home.” As an additional treat, Palmer also played two unrecorded songs in Los Angeles for the first time: the paen to wanderlust “Australia,” and a heartbreaking, untitled song about two uncommunicative lovers.

Two-thirds of the way though the show, Palmer began to take audience requests—causing the decibel level between songs to painfully skyrocket. However, this move is to be expected from a woman who, despite juggling many artistic pursuits and self-booking a world tour, remains the paradigm of accessible. Not once, but twice during the show (which, as Palmer herself predicted, stretched long past the two-hour mark) the music was stopped in favor of an “Ask Amanda” session. Despite attendees’ seemingly endless obsession with her newly-announced significant other, author Neil Gaiman, Palmer patiently answered several potentially embarrassing questions about their relationship, including “What is your favorite body part of Neil Gaiman?” The final answer—“His hair is an amazing, chaotic halo of life. But I think I like his smile best.”—elicited coos from the audience. Gaiman, perched in the balcony, blushed a cherry red. It was their relationship that Palmer used as a spring board to promote/pimp her newest project, the Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, a coffee table photo book paring of “dead” images of herself with original short stories written by Gaiman. A tribute to the power of direct marketing, Palmer read an entire story recounting one of her many grizzly deaths to an audience so rapped one could hear a pin drop.

Despite Palmer’s absorbing theatrics, the night really belonged to the King of Pop, as evidenced by two covers which easily stood out as show highlights. The first was a Michael Jackson cover, “Billie Jean,” which Palmer admitted to learning in 20 minutes between sound check and the show. Slowing down the driving pop beat of the original, Palmer made it hers, matching the melancholy of so many fans around the world. The sorrow again returned during the show closer when, fully engrossed in the ad-hoc wake, Palmer performed a touching version of the Leonard Cohen classic, “Hallelujah.” Arm-in-arm, lighters aloft, the audience swayed in response, comforted. In a world where, just hours earlier, one dimmed light had affected so many, it was a very sweet end to, yes, a very weird day.



Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

April 10th 2010

Someone at the LA Times is Scientology friendly, since all the comments here have been cleaned up.

What about Amanda Palmer’s bizarre Scientology connections and the fact that she is marrying into one of the major international Scientology families in the world? Amanda Palmer’s “fiancee”  Neil Gaiman denied being a Scientologist a month after giving the cult $35,000.00 (Cornerstone Newsletter November 2009, where Gaiman is listed as a Scientologist in good-standing). All of Gaiman’s siblings are high ranking Scientologists and Gaiman has consistently funded the cult his entire adult life.

June 6th 2010

Gaiman just gave Scientology another $500,000.00 in 2010 through his business partner Mary Gaiman. Amanda Palmer mocks people with disabilities, thinks giving product placement money to the KKK is “ironic,” and now is marrying into a major Scientology family? Who is this idiot?

January 10th 2011

Amanda Palmer writes her own story. As part of an ever-growing populace of major-label artists left to fend for themselves in an indie climate, she’s become the living embodiment of diverging philosophies behind record labels and musicians, fiercely defending her art- and her ability to do things her own, unique way.
Rolex Prices

February 20th 2012

Amanda Palmer famous is quite a hilarious stretch of your imagination. Amanda Palmer is a desperate publicity hound who is absolutely talentless. She’s a modern day version of the idiots who went over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Palmer is a tasteless clown whoring herself out to get ahead.

Amanda Fail Palmer is in a deal with one of the biggest Scientology
families on the planet and Gaiman just chucked half a million into their
coffers last Spring via his ex-wife and business partner in The Blank
Corp, Mary Gaiman who lives in his backyard.

Once Gaiman and Palmer signed their contract, Scientology agreed to
pull every string which is why there was a sudden campaign of posters,
appearances, photo shoots, Sea Org Twitter followers, films and wobble
dolls within a month of their relationship going public. Most contracts
are 10 years. Who starts a brand new relationship and within a month
starts churning out products on this level? People in a contract do. And
it will continue non stop. Gaiman has the appearance of success because
of Scientology buying him awards. Scienos control the Nebulas, Hugos
and the library association. But he doesn’t have main stream success.
His film attempts have failed and his books don’t sell through. Now his
contract money is pathetically small and even DC comics won’t pay him
more than he made in the 80’s. Gaiman doesn’t need the money anyway, he
is rich from the vitamin company his Scientology family owns, hawking
the purification rundown.

Gaiman is sick of writing. He just wants to tweet and get onstage to
get his fix. Writing is too hard. Why not just act like a jackass
onstage with Palmer and have 20 people clap?

Amanda Fail Palmer signed a Faustian pact with the Gaiman Scientology
Dynasty. Her family is Sea Org, the lower class Scienos. That’s why she
will not say the “S” word in public. Strange, don’t you think that a
woman who sells her used underwear online and waxes lyrical on her
menses will not utter the word Scientology? Palmer is a freak and no
agency like CAA will touch her with a 10 foot pole.

It will backfire though…. Scientologists have no editor and their
belief systems are looney. They can’t pass for normal. Without someone
to warn them when they’re out of line, their behavior escalates and will
grow more erratic and insane. Look at the album they just cut? They
think it’s okay to tweet and mock people and write a song in 10 minutes.

Online Dissertation Writers
April 16th 2012

Your pics are remarkable. I enjoy the content material, it gets your readers linked to your blog. I am a undergraduate and I am right now overwhelmed with term papers, dissertation writing research papers, book reports essays papers and other projects. I really want to generate my own essays yet some help is generally desired. I intend to make use of for my final buy dissertation project . I stumbled upon them through search . Can keep you published on the final results.