Monday, October 16

Live: The Dresden Dolls 10/10/06

What’s better than going to see The Dresden Dolls live on a Tuesday night? Going to see them live for free. And that’s what I did Tuesday Night over at the Orpheum Theater. Since no one listening to wanted the free tickets we were giving away, I ended up with a pair. I was skeptical at first about how cool this show would be, but now that I know I have no idea why anyone wouldn’t want free tickets to see The Dresden Dolls.

Maybe it’s the crowd? I’m not fond of the whole Hot Topic goth look or anything, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. And no one were really jackass or anything, it was a pretty easy-going crowd. And the Dresden Dolls put on one hell of a show. Brian Viglione is absolutely amazing on the drums and was so animated throughout the whole set it was impossible to ignore him. Amanda Palmer, the singer/pianist, is just as talented, but doesn’t come off nearly as lively. The two together, though, makes up a very tight duo that’s able to pull off some really hard little maneuvers while throwing in some funny visuals everywhere in their songs.

They opened their set with the “Yes, Virignia” opening track “Sex Changes.” It was a great pick, showcasing the duo’s talent of very nice dynamic control. Brian was everywhere on the drums, throwing in little clicks, chokes, and other accents through out the verses. The sound guy also did a great job in micing the drums, because they sounded so fucking good. Really, the sound was just so badass. And with any free limb they had, Amanda and Brian would point out to the crowd or do whatever they could to incite cheers from the crowd. Then, during their second song “Gravity,” two appropriately dressed women came on stage and did a choreographed routine. It didn’t really add to the song or anything, but it was neat to witness nonetheless and it did fit well with the whole circus-act theme I think they had going on.

Some of the stand out tracks of the night were “Coin-Operated Boy,” “Modern Moonlight,” and “Bad Habit.” On the album, “Coin-Operated Boy” featured some pretty weird sections that would be hard to translate well on stage, namely the end of the first chorus in which the song “skips” during the final line numerous times. The “skiping” is really just eliminating the last sixteenth note, thus creating a very awkward time signature. But Brian and Amanda pulled it off flawlessly, and even made it cooler sounding than it did on CD. They also nailed the super slow retard in the middle of the song. Then, “Modern Moonlight” sounded great even though it’s at such a blazing fast tempo. It’s not one of my favorite songs or anything, but you couldn’t help but be amazed at what you were watching. The tempo barely even dragged, if it even dragged at all. Then “Bad Habit” was just awesome. Amanda, though having very little voice lessons, had her strong vocal performance of the night with this song.

The main set of the night ended off with one of the fan favorite, “Half Jack.” It just started off with a bass note just playing eighth notes, and then Brian started coming with drums. Soon enough, he was just going crazy everywhere on the set. Pretty much, before the song even really began, Brian gave the crowd an amazing drum solo. And with every huge snare shot he made, I felt that much more inferior. And then the song finally started. The song was great and everything, but I just kept thinking about how cool that solo was. Part of it is just how Brian plays; he makes it look so easy. And he has all these little mannerisms while he’s playing, which made it look like he was just having fun and not trying to impress anyone. It was pretty awesome.

The duo then came back on stage for the encore, and enlisted the help of the frontman from the opening band The Red Paintings. The three of them performed a cover the Tears of Fears’ “Mad World” that was pretty cool, and better than the Gary Jules version. Then they ended off the night with “Sing,” their single from the new album. During the ending, everyone that had performed that night came on stage to…sing….the ending. It was a cool little sight. And I didn’t even need to pay for any of it. How cool.

The Dresden Dolls - Sex Changes
The Dresden Dolls - Modern Moonlight
The Dresden Dolls - Coin-Operated Boy

- John Higgins -

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