Dresden Dolls, Blue Hills Pavilion Boston MA Friday August 26, 2016
Dresden Dolls.. that ‘dark cabaret’ scene. That whole artsy greasepaint, patchouli sniffing, dank erotic upper middle class, Uni scene… it’s so.. 2000.
Born of that scene is Amanda Palmers Dresden Dolls, this chick w/ percussionist Brian Viglione is the poster child for hairy legged flip flop wearing smoothie drinking gals everywhere.
Now that I got that out of my system.. Amanda Palmer is a woman I love and hate in equal measure. Annoying, ‘girl-power’ nonsense.. but witty.. so brash .. so cool.
So the Dresden Dolls come to Boston- Boston.. home of the Dolls.. and hipsters.. and artsy wealthy cats perfect- I’m in.
So many cliché’s so many negatives so much nonsense. And ‘so help me if she whips her boob out to feed her kid, I’m gonna lose it’
These are my thoughts as I make the trek to see the band I also love as much as hate. And I see saw between those two emotions on my traffic packed drive to the city of Sox and violence. I’m gonna hate the fan base. I’m going to be annoyed by the dress up game and the bougie hip nonsense. Park, walk, trot.. gig time.
And every thought I have had up til this time is dead wrong. The crowd in no way met my cliche’. Young, pale, overweight teetering between tired housewife and Manson girls it was refreshing. I love being wrong and in this case I was.
Unfortunately I caught only the last two songs from opening act PWR BTTM, but blame the Boston tunnel system for that one. Boston roads suck and unlike New York have zero logic in their mapping. I was disappointed to miss their set. I had heard great things and their recorded material was catchy and fun. They’ll be back in the area in November. I’ll make a note.
The Dolls came on early closer to 8:30 than 9 and in full grease paint hit the stage running with “Good Day”and it became a great night. Palmer’s voice is hypnotic moving from guttural low to this odd Betty Boop squeak. Full range, full control and fully engaging she hammered away at her keyboard with a passion I’ve not seen in awhile. Drummer and wing man Brian Viglione literally melting behind the kit. Witnessing musical genius doesn’t happen to me much- but I did last night. He is much more in control then I had thought he would be. There is a maturity and power I didn’t expect of him.
When you have a back catalog that is so well known by your fan base its easy to just become a human jukebox. Chucking it out exactly as it sounds on your recordings but the Dolls did better. They took the familiar and punched it up a bit often swapping notes and melodies. Keeping the integrity of a tune but freshening it up and forcing the listener (and sing a long-er) to pay attention. Then again it was hard not too.
Amanda Palmer may not be the most beautiful rocker but she is stunning and refreshingly uninhibited. Coated in neon makeup and a 2 sizes too small bra the rolls of mother hood and wife hood have softened and rounded her. There is no self conscious ‘hide the gut’ shes out there sweating her ass off and making really unattractive expression and not giving a fuck. No costume change no quick touch ups…you got her fresh at the gate and drenched smeared and depleted at shows end. She gave it all as did Viglione (whos greasepaint sweated off amazingly like the Phantom of the Opera mask- go figure)
Highlights included the all hands on deck “Fight For your Right To Party” and a gorgeous “Backstabber”. Bucket list performances by a band you need to explore. They play Coney Island tonight and honestly if I were in better health Id be hoofing out to see them again.
I spend so much time digging for negative that coming up nearly empty handed furrows my brow. Are the Dresden Dolls that good live? Is Amanda Palmer so much more than she appears to be in her endless annoying social media babbles? Quite simply yes.
Fabulous concert- I am more a fan now than ever.
And Amanda, you’re pretty fucking amazing.