Amanda Palmer made music history this year when she raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter allowing her to shake her contract with RoadRunner records and launch her own label and subsequent album, “Theater is Evil,” an eclectic rock/sync mix that harkens back to 80’s new wave. With “Smiles: Pictures or it Didn’t Happen” Palmer interweaves social commentary with screeching guitars. I feel like I’m hearing the album Bowie never wrote.
Palmer channels a mix of Johnette Napolitano and Dale Bozzio in “The Killing Type”, infuses Polly Jean Harvey on “Bottomfeeder” with wailing slide guitars, pop interludes and heavy bass pedal effects. Never one to shy away from controversy, “Do it with a Rock Star” is a clear parody on the rock-star fantasy-lifestyle.
I met Amanda Palmer on my birthday in 2009 at Lexington High School. She was directing The Needle that sings in her Heart, a play based on Neutral Milk Hotel’s album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. She was one of the most irreverent, warm and enthusiastic people I’d ever met. She asked how my birthday was going. It was actually going really poorly. In fact, I was on really bad date. I felt like she already somehow knew that. “I just turned 32,” she said, with a cheeky grin.
‘The Needle that sings in her Heart’ inspired and saddened me all at once, much like Cabaret. I told her about how I was studying the musical Cabaret (which she ironically went on to perform at A.R.T in 2010 for a two-month run).
“Theater is Evil” might be Palmer’s pièce de ré·sis·tance before going on hiatus with Neil in Cambridge, Mass. to help her best friend Anthony with his cancer treatments which she chronicles on twitter. “I’m going to bake cakes or something, mused Palmer at her latest three-night, sold-out show at the Paradise in Boston.
A tearful Amanda dedicated the “Bed Song” to Neil Gaiman who happened to be in the audience on the last night.
I posted a picture of Amanda performing on Instagram. I got bunch of hearts. I felt like I had experienced the rapture in a way. I think it may have had something to do with her band covering the entire audience with a mesh tarp and crowd-surfing over the entire audience, making her way to the bar. “Can I get a shot? politely asked Palmer suspended in air by the audience gesturing to the bartender….”I’ve always wanted to do this.”
I hope Neil and Amanda tear it up in Cambridge and make beautiful babies, creative and otherwise. Her fans will likely be the first to know.