Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gig Review - Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra
Live @ The Forum, Melbourne (20/09/2013)
 Supported by Die Roten Punkte, Jherek Bischoff and Sabrina D'Angelo
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

Well, hello. Here we are again. We keep meeting this way, because we both love each other immensely, obviously, more than anything else and I hope this relationship lasts forever, I really do, but sometimes I wonder, how long can this go on? Our last meeting, it was intense. It was intense and dramatic and hilarious and exhausting and amazing. It was everything it should have been and more.


This time, we met in Melbourne at a venue I've never been to before. It was stunning and a little quaint, with it's tiered tables at the back, some chose the 'dinner and a show' style viewing, but you and I both know that's not how we like to do things. From the very front, right against the barrier, this night started with those two friends of yours, the Germans, Otto and Astrid. They called themselves Die Roten Punkte. I learnt to love them quickly. Hilarious and cute and talented as well, all in red and black, both of them with extreme makeup and hilarious songs about dinosaurs and bananas and second best friends and awkward situations. Astrid spoke of inspiration striking and Otto was as cute as could be, being bossed around by his 'sister' and those big rock moves were something to behold. As they left the stage I had a strange aspiration to own my very own bananen-hausen.

You disappeared momentarily when Sabrina D'Angelo appeared. Amanda Palmer called her a body poet, she moved around in the strangest of ways with only herself and two simple props, totally in silence. The audience laughed, loudly. It was a moment in a rock show that was like nothing I'd seen before and like nothing I'll probably see again, for a long time anyway.


You wandered back in with that nonchalant swagger you have when Jherek Bishcoff walked on stage and you made such an impact in such a short space of time, there you were, right beside me again, making me comfortable and begging me to listen closer. He only played a couple of songs but the songs, they were incredible. How can a ukulele sound so intense? The loops, the beats, the sounds, I guess you know the secrets, but they're always a beautiful surprise when you share them.

When The Grand Theft Orchestra, Chad Raines, Jherek Bishcoff and Thor Harris walked on stage, you certainly made yourself known, didn't you? Amanda stormed out, all rock and all business, in tight silver leggings and boots and a corset and 'YES' scrawled across her chest and there you were, obnoxious and arrogant and beautiful. She started with a song that felt like we were at a rock show, 'Do It With A Rockstar' and there was no doubt she had arrived and you too had arrived. When you bounced around and screamed at me "Do you wanna get drunk and stay the night? Do you wanna smoke till our throats are sore? Make out then talk and then make out some more?" how could I ever have said no? Louder than ever, screaming in everyone's faces, you are more and more attractive every minute, aren't you? When Amanda jumped into the audience with a small amount of hysteria and the opening notes of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' started, for a second or two I could have been in some kind of parallel universe, in 1992, Amanda the female version of Kurt and the crowd bouncing as well as any mosh pit did in the day. I loved it and I think you loved it a little more.


You stood right beside me as every song was performed; 'The Killing Type', 'Girl Anachronism', 'Missed Me' (with special guest Meow Meow adding her fabulousness to a song that needs no more fabulous, but somehow gets better with more of it) and 'Want It Back'. You ensured the singalong was loud in 'Map Of Tasmania', performed by just Amanda and her ukulele and you were there, screaming along with me to 'Lost'; one of my favourite tracks from Theatre Is Evil. You gave me a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder in the chorus when I felt all alone and when I felt all at one. When Thor's glockenspiel and cymbals crashed down on top of me in the front row, I looked for you, because you made the memory special, a real rock moment.


We loved the things that make a live gig a live gig, like the story before 'Gaga Palmer Madonna' and the sweet nerves Amanda admitted having while performing a song about Melbourne in front of a Melbourne audience in 'From St Kilda To Fitzroy'. I especially loved watching Amanda love you as she invited her various special guests on stage; Brendan Maclean making Katy Perry sound better than Katy Perry, Kate Miller Heidke performing 'Are You Fucking Kidding Me?' and Missy Higgins performing a completely new (unfinished) track 'I Can't Find You'. These are the things that make a gig special and will keep us talking days and months and years later.



As usual and as you know, there's one, one song I can't listen to without tears falling, every single time and yet again, a week after the last time, the absolute beauty of 'The Bed Song' bought me to tears, but what I didn’t expect was a little surprise you had planned, that cover of Bat For Lashes 'Laura' with Amanda's good friend, Brendan Maclean was stunning, almost as powerful as the original and as tear jerking as well. The goosebumps I get at these type of events are strong and scary, exactly what I love about these nights. 'Bottomfeeder' caused the same reaction and even though I'd seen the trick before, the flowing tail of Amanda's jacket covering the audience as she seemed to float above them through the second verse, I was still amazed and impressed, still wrapped up in all you are and still feeling like a tiny person in a giant world of happiness and heartbreak, both as equally as important as each other.


When the opening notes of 'Common People' were played, I knew that song for me would never be the same, after holding Amanda's hand, dancing and screaming with her at the Brisbane gig, a little regret came over me, I realised that this would soon be over, that something I had looked forward to for so very long would be done and what next? I looked at you, I looked you right in the eye and decided there and then to enjoy every second of what I was seeing, because these type of gigs only happen every now and then.

I don't think we could have smiled wider or giggled louder when Amanda invited her entire crew on stage, all the support acts and friends she adores to join her for her final songs, 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Leeds United', they were loud and they were fun and we danced like never before. How I love to share these moments with you.

It's artists like Amanda Palmer that hold that special place in my mind and hold that special place in my heart, it's artists like her and gigs like these that remind me, even though you are always there, in every part of my day and night, it's you music, that I love the most. It's you that is always there, guiding me through life. It's gigs like these where you shine and remind me to respect you, to hold you closely but not tightly and I don't question how long I'll love you, I think I'll adore you for my entire life. It's gigs like these where we both come alive. It's you music, it's you who I adore. Another gig date soon?

Check out some more pics from Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra's Melbourne gig over at facebook and instagram. Go on, you know you want to...

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