Monday, February 28, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Auckland/Melbourne/Sydney

2.23.11, King's Arms, Auckland

makin' whoopee
sex changes
missed me
mrs. o
in my mind
gaga/palmer/madonna
australia
vegemite
double rainbow
ampersand
coin-op
mr. piano man* (kinda...billy joel cover)
elephant elephant*
bacteria bacteria*
new zealand (extended ballad version)
map of tasmania*
unknown beach
girl anachronism
you only want me....*
runs in the family
e: oasis
drinking song*

* w/ Jason Webley
_______

i'm gonna hold onto the melbourne list until tomorrow's epic melbourne blog.

i don't really wanna go into the whole christchurch ordeal. i can't. it's hard for me. i've seen my share of natural disasters- on and off the road. but as i grow up i get more and more cautious. life is too short as it is. our near miss with fate ground me down to the bone. sometimes i feel i'm now too old to be chasing tornados...

the auckland show was great. it really was. i'm glad jason made it safely.

and just like that- we were back in melbourne. more on that tomorrow.

and just like that- we were back in sydney with djs and s and gsn for pretty peepers. it was rad. the level of art and craft amongst the performers put american cabaret/burlesque to shame. amanda dj-ed a great set of songs through the night. i got to bring out my rusty danish on s's mom...still got it!

i'll leave you with some photos for fun. but it's all about the upcoming melbourne blog so stay with me. the internetz in adelaide are driving me crazy...pics won't go up in order...shoddy blog!
i like this one from webstock, afp called me the karate kid, wellington 2.18.11- photo by?
my life in photos, sydney airport, 2.28.11- photo by afp
 
hilarious. thanks ian! at pretty peepers in erskineville 2.27.11- photo by karina

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Wellington & Napier

2.18.11, Webstock, Town Hall, Wellington NZ (private event)

makin' whoopie
ampersand
i google you
gaga, palmer, madonna: a polemic
new zealand
map of tasmania
on an unknown beach
mrs. o
pirate jenny
coin-op boy
do you swear to...yer black ass
thriller*
bacteria bacteria*
myspace*
the drinking song*

* w/ Jason Webley

____________

2.19.11, Bodega, Wellington NZ

makin' whoopie
sex changes
ampersand
missed me
happy birthday
australia
vegemite
you only want me 'cause you want my sister*
map of tasmania*
new zealand*
in my mind
i don't care much
runs in the family
on an unknown beach
-book reading-
do you swear to...yer black ass
e: astronaut
drinking song

_____________

oh. wow. this is gonna be rough...so much noise in the ether.

to start. i've always really liked wellington. always. it's a small city. it's my kinda city. i'm a country-mouse.

but i never get to spend enough time here. it's always fly in, play, fly out. i feel i could stay for weeks. i absolutely need to come back when i'm not working. new zealand has been high on the list of worlds to explore ever since i was young. i'm so lucky and fortunate i get to swing through for work every once in a great while, and the dream is semi-realized. but also...it's a cock-tease. i'm always left wanting more...

this time around it was all about webstock. yeah. we did a ninja gig and the mayor came. we did a rock show at Bodega, and it might have been one of the best of the tour... but webstock was something else.

something new.

for two.five days we stepped out of our "rock world" and into a familiar, though foreign territory: web conferences.

amanda has done a handful of these before. she tells me zoe keating and imogen heap do them all the time. but it was new to me. two days of workshops and speeches and fancy meals. social networking while socially networking.

the other speakers were rather fancy folk. high-ups at google, apple, facebook, tumblr, yahoo/bbc, writers, college professors, pirate kings, font/design mavericks...an impressive list of uber-knowledgeable trend-setters with their fingers on the pulse. and to stand from a world apart and get an insiders' perception of their world- which we use everyday to operate in OUR world...was almost alien. in a good way.

there's no question tech is the new "music-industry". innovators and foreseers on the net are the new "rockstars". ask lefsetz. or don't ask lefsetz. there's no need. but the web is where the excitement is. the web is where the future is happening. the web is where the rockstars are being produced. steve jobs matters more than steven tyler. and he used to matter a lot...the web is where musicians are going to have careers...in music. and that is weird. but amazing. maybe amanda and jason were the musicians. but we were surrounded by the modern rockstars left and right.


and to get some insight into it all...totally awesome.

and for a few days it was also humanizing. the constant reminder that there is more out there in the world than the parameters of my tourbook (an excel workbook with 64 worksheets, lame-o), our flight schedule, the 14 cities we have shows in...an education. a knowing. an experience far removed from our norm. i still have a really big question i wanna ask tc about the bbc....the bbc i forget exists for weeks at a time when i'm on the road and neglect to get the news...ever and always.

on top of it all...the event itself was organized in the most awesome of manners from the top down. even though amanda and jason performed a full show, it wasn't like any "show" environment i had seen before. there were welcoming parties, dinners of honor, legions of minions to do my bidding, fancy hotels, easy schedules, pro audio teams, scheduled slots for socializing, great food, on and on and on. word on the street is webstock is one of the best web events in the world- everyone likes doing this one. and it shows. mike and tash work their asses off to provide such a fantastic THING IN THE WORLD. i'm really grateful for all their awesome-sauce, and their incredible star treatment. special shout out to mike forbes as well...your kickass knows no boundaries. and to keith and michelle and the other tash and deb (from maine!) and ben (?) and all the rest of you- i'm so sorry i'm so bad with names. but. really. you all did a great job making us feel at home and it was appreciated. you all do good work. ask me back next year? i'll think of something to do...i'll volunteer!

and just like that it was over. or rather we were back in rock-world doing rock shows on a rock schedule doing rock-y things like rock people do. breaking the rules....

...it's great to see jason webley. i've missed him. i haven't seen him since we finished evelyn evelyn tour last year. this world is a strange and lonely and fortuitous one. we all spin in and out of each others' orbits in chaotic patterns of time. i wonder what it's like to feel solid. to feel and think and see the same thing every day...part of me would get it. part of me would scream. really. really. loud. in verdana capital bold. (thank you jsm)

and now we are in napier for two days without jason.

napier...who woulddathunkit?

story of our lives. another uncalculated adventure. the best kind...

we didn't realize we'd be rolling into town during the last hours of Arts Deco Week until we had already made our plans to come here. and boy howdy! we were sure glad we did...

the entire town was rebuilt in early art deco style from top to bottom after a major earthquake in 1931. hastings, the shelbyville to napier's springfield, was rebuilt in the spanish missionary style...you can guess which city won the glory. the rivalry is ages old.

napier is the "art deco city of the world". miami... eat my shorts.

the dork in me has been freakin' out since arrival (i have an art history degree...kinda. and wait 'til the part about the fossils...).

we just happened to have enough retro clothing on us to throw together deco-ish outfits. pure coincidence i swear. i borrowed a newsie's cap from a ninja-gigger. we took photos with fancy cars and amanda played her uke in the middle of the road. the best ones of afp and i are here and here. but here's one more for the road...literally.

Newsies cast reject in Napier, NZ. photo by afp

it rained. we ate turkish food. we had an amazing evening with kya and aidan and boudicca and nyssa.
we slept late and woke up and did laundry and ate berries from their garden and i gave myself a haircut (finally..the most 48 human hours of tour...).

washing yer shirts for the first time in 6 weeks is awesome. also, doing laundry sucks. photo by afp.

we spent the afternoon walking atop te mata peak with the fam. strolling through redwood forests. scouting vineyard amphitheatres for future gig locales... nothing will bring you back to earth like playing with toddlers.

oh. and the fossils. i would post my own photo but i'm having mac/blackberry troubles. te mata is easily a kilometer above sea level. but once upon a time all of new zealand was under water... there are thousands of fossils underfoot...all of them seashells. (science-nerd freak out!). and they are all on top of this mountain with hangliders and 100 meter drops to your death amongst sheep feces...

this multi-thousands year old scallop shell fossil makes me feel sad. but the inner nerd is...photo by afp.


it's late and i'm rattling on....this blog was really rough. all these amazing things happened over the last few days. but i couldn't find the words to get it all out there....i really just wanted my mom to know what i was up to...hey mom! we're flying to christchurch tomorrow. we land at 3:35 pm. i'm gonna see julie from pdx who just got off the ice in antarctica. and i'm thinking of you....xoxoxo

i'm king of the world...or maybe just Gondor.... photo by kya.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Brisbane

the old museum, brisbane, 2.12.11

missed me*
astronaut*
dr. oz*
in my mind
the bed song
bad habit
vegemite ( the black death)
the drover's boy*
coin-operated boy*
formidable marinade*
bad wine and lemon-cake**
runs in the family*
oasis*
e:map of tasmania*
leeds united*

* w/ Mikelangelo and the Tin Star with Saint Clare
** w/ Tom Dickins of the Jane Austen Argument

________

i don't think i ever put the byron bay setlist up. sorry! if folks want it, i'll dig it up and repost...

brisbane....brisbane...

my two previous trips to brisbane were misguided. i was only ever here for a day or two. always staying downtown in the fancy-pants hotels on the river. i had no idea fortitude valley and new farm existed. a whole different side to the city i never knew. i'm thankful to have had an experience that changed my perceptions of it all.

but.

brisbane was a little rough on the soul. we've hit the half-way point. and for a moment...i hit the tour wall.

tour wall. it's not uncommon. but it hits like bricks. you snap back to reality and realize the truth of your surroundings. you're living out of a suitcase. hopping hotel to hotel. missing birthdays, funerals, weddings, births back home. this is not an ordinary way to live. it's a bit exceptional. long ago, we as a species made the move from nomadic hunter/gatherers to settled agrarians. rock and roll sends you straigh back to hunting/gathering. many roadies love it. but i know plenty of musicians who don't. and even though this tour is amazing fun- it can still feel like tour....

while we didn't necessarily have any crazy adventures lined up, we had lots of friends to see and meetings to hold. this was nice. we had these amazing studios in the IMA for lodging (thanks k!). they were completely void of visual stimuli except for the amazing picture windows that looked out over the city. (lack of stimuli is chou important- no distractions/very calming). we had decent internet connections. afp and i sat at our desks in our adjoining rooms with the door propped open to facilitate easy work-parties. we worked a lot. and this was also good.

but.

all these things, some minor, some major, occured in my personal life and kinda overwhelmed tour world...

-i found out my dear friend l.k. from santa fe, she gave me 3/7ths of my tattoos, was in this ridiculous car crash in alabama and thrown 70 feet from the road. that's really far. she's in the icu. but recovering really well. i hope she's okay...that was not good news.

-i have a really great childhood friend form maine who happens to live in brisbane. we only ever see each other once in a while...once in japan a couple years ago...once in maine last summer...and this time never. we never managed to connect at all. i don't even know what happened there. i was looking forward to seeing her. i screwed up. i let my personal life slide and didn't even reach out until 2:am the morning we drove to brisbane in the first place for the show...too litte too late e.

-spending valentines with afp and smw and mh was really fun. we had a great dinner. we had some great drinks. spending it so far away from g was not fun. i miss him. he had chocolates and wine and flowers sent to the studio somehow. g for the win. he is amazing.

-and...this is really material...but....i bought my favorite pair of doc marten's ever on snoop tour back in march of '07. i have worn them EVERY DAY for the last 3.5 years. they are brown. 8-eyelets. they are so worn in the sole they are screwing up my back and let in the elements through the bottom. but i love them. dearly. shitkicking boots. i felt like the million dollar man in those goddam boots...i pulled them out from suitcase in brisbane, after 5 days in a plastic bag in the heat and moisture of the byron bay, and they must have been wet when they went into the bag...i have never seen an inanimate object so covered in mold and mildew and fungus in my life. they were disgusting. i'm weak. i have this fear of mold. i throw out 3 day old food....i was never gonna put those boots on my feet again. seriously. they looked and smelled like the swamp monster. inside and out. completely alive with organic material...i left them behind. and i will miss them.

"everything in its right place..." thom yorke said it best. an early but subtle roadie trick i learned (and good for anyone travelling really) was to always keep everything in the same pockets of your backpack and your luggage. you train your brain to know exactly where your resources are at any given moment. and you can pack in a flash 'cause you know where everything belongs. and you never change it up ever. unless you get a new bag...it's a reliable trick. and it provides a certain ordered comfort to counterbalance the chaos of the road. these goddam boots were the same damn thing...i could count on them. always.

i tried to find a new pair in fortitude valley. apparently that line was discontinued 3 years ago.

RIP old friends..2.15.11
goodbye boots....may chaos rule....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Geraldton, WA 2.6.11

l'attitude 28, geraldton, wa

creep
makin' whoopi
astronaut
such great heights*
map of tasmania*
coin-operated boy
billy jean
vegemite
australia

* w/ @kimboekbinder...in the men's toilet

____

so off the grid and into the bush we went.

in the early days of mapping this tour, afp told me we were gonna hit every little town we could. we'd bring the art to the bush and the beach and the people. places bands don't play. spaces never seen. i was nervous but intrigued- would these towns even have keyboards? let alone audiences...? but the adventure was on.

sadly most of the out of the way gigs refused to materialze. but not for lack of trying. logistically and schedule-wise it just became too much.

but then we got the email from clare mcculloch...an urgent plea to play the seaside fishing town of geraldton. and we jumped on it. population 36,000. 250 miles from perth to the north.

growing up in rural maine, towns like this were the nearest cities. and they were still 4 hours away. i thought i knew what i was in for...but not quite.

talk about wild. we rented an intermediate 4wd i dubbed pegasus. pegasus had a wombat tattoo. or maybe it was a wallaby. pegasus would never fail.

so late morning we left from fremantle and hit the brand highway for a brutal cruise through the inland. we stopped at the wal-mart of garden centers 60 miles into the wilderness. it was called waldeck's. they had great food. we ate quiche.

then it was on. 4 more hours through the bush and the bush-fires and the most nothing of nothingnesses. syphoning gas from mad max roadhouses with windmills and no running water and domesticated emus.

and as the sun began to fade we hurtled through dongara and kbk found us a run-down church to live in. forever.

next stop geraldton.

geraldton. one of the strangest most amazing shows of my young life. everyone we met opened their arms with warm hearts and took amazing care of us. the venue was ridiculous in their hospitality. we set up camp in their wine cellar. and the show went off. but i think this summer i need to intern as a keyboard tech...i couldn't fix a broken instrument out of a paper bag.

we drank on the beach until the wee hours with our new friends from minute 36 who had played the night before. i cut my feet on the coral.

the next morning the charms of town revealed themselves. we ran into @velvetsarah at saltdish. we held workparty on the children's library free wireless. we took a peek inside the town theater to scout gig locations.

and we hit the road.

but this time we headed south along the indian ocean. blue sky blue sea white sand green bush. the birds. we hit namburg national park and tried our hand at some art and some photos...

_____

...naughty photos...(i'm not gonna repost them for my mother's sake, but it's a really great photo of afp...so if you know where to look you'll find.) i'm a wee bit conflicted. but just a wee bit.

usually i'm the guy behind the scenes. my presence goes unnoticed by the general public and the friends/family as i am the guy on the computer that usually sits backstage and handles everything with the venue reps. my fan interaction is severely limited. and i'm cool with that. i know my role. i let the band be the superstars.

with afp it's all so different. we are all a part of the circus and we all get so much exposure in and to her world. it's an amazing transparency, and i think it gives the audience this valuable insight into how life in the business operates and how life on the road goes down. who she is. and what we do.

but never in my life has so much skin appeared in public (wellllllll there was that theater piece in college..i was chariman mao...pretty full frontal on that one i guess) and now on the internet. it's a very novel accessibility to my personal space... something completely different...now you all know where the tattoos are...naughty photos...

_____

...and as the sun set yet again we drove onwards past snow white sandunes that merged with the sky like clouds. kangaroos eating on the side of the road. emus crossing the street. ukeleles in hand...

late night and we had hit the airport. and twelve hours, 2 flights, one van ride later. i was standing on the beach in byron bay...

it's different here.

not so naughty photo by @amandapalmer, giant windmill in regan's ford, 2.6.11

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- melbourne/sydney/newcastle/canberra in phots

but first...a setlist.

fly-by-night, fremantle wa. 2.4.11

missed me*
astronaut*
dr. oz*
in my mind
icarus
such great heights**
vegemite
gaga palmer madonna
girl anachronism
australia
drover's boy*
coin-operated boy*
formidable marinade*
runs in the family
oasis*
e: map of tasmania*
leeds united*

* w/ Mikelangelo and the Tin Star with Saint Clare
** w/ Kim Boekbinder

----

this wild ride barrels on...felt great to relax on the beach after last night's gig with new friends...swimming with phosphorescent jellyfish...jameson and bonfires on the sand 'til the wee hours. hangover breakfast cures! alexandra, the lovely doctor i found to make a hotel call...

here's a bunch of photos i've not had time to process...rad. next up- geraldton!

@KimBoekbinder and @ms_jenski disco party on the train to surry hills, melbourne 1.22.11.

wedding party with the gang, surry hills 1.22.11.


map of tasmania at the sydney opera house, 1.26.11. photo by mandy hall.

"the lean" at @KaH_was_taken's  bbq, prestons 1.28.11. photo by @usuallydenotedc at mankissingbird.com.
ninja gig at carriageworks, sydney 1.29.11.

@battsignal gets his "action" shot, newcastle 1.30.11. photo by Jim Batt.
ninja bike ride through garema with rat patrol, canberra 2.2.11. photo by red dog.


palmer st. sydney. 'nuff said.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Newcastle/Canberra

set schedule on the old ballroom wall in the great northern, newcastle, 1.30.11
newcastle, the great northern- 1.30.11

astronaut
ampersand
in my mind
vegemite
bad wine**
flowers**
such great heights***
missed me*
formidable marinade*
dr. oz*
drover's boy*
should i stay or should i go* (the clash cover)
oasis*
map of tasmania (with everyone)
coin-op boy
australia
e: shipsong*
leeds united
creep


canberra, james o fairfax theatre, 2.1.11

makin' whoopi
astronaut
ampersand
in my mind
vegemite
bad wine**
flowers**
oasis
bed song
missed me*
formidable marinade*
drover's boy*
ship song*
coin-op boy
wkap book reading
map of tasmania
australia
e: creep
lion sleeps tonight (an old classic...with everyone. i even played a wooden frog...)

* w/ Mikelangelo and co.
** w/ the JAA
*** w/ Kim boekbinder


the sets may be similar. but the circumstances are as unalike as possible.

i was looking forward to both these gigs-  as they were in cities i'd never been to before. and i was excited. there are cities. there are venues. there are places i've toured a hundred times and will tour a hundred times more. but i turned to rock and roll as a means to see the world (i'm a geography nerd...my adolescent claim to fame was two consecutive trips to the National Geographic State Geography Bee...i never made it past the semi-finals...). so the opportunity to play towns i've never been to before always sets my heart beating. it doesn't matter that i rarely see more than 100 feet from the venue doors- i'm a slut for a stamp in the passport.

newcastle was this fantastic drunken sweaty mess of a show. big congrats to R and C for turning a dirty aging sports bar into a classy music juke joint. they opened nearly one year ago this week. and are hosting as much live music as they can get their hands on. but the clincher was the fantastic dilapidated art deco ballroom on the second floor that served as our dressing room- complete with broken mirrors and piles of pigeon shit.

canberra, on the other hand, was a staid and formal grand piano show inside a performance hall within the National Gallery of Australia (HOLY FUCK! if you guys are not a aware that you have a major commissioned piece by James Turrell in your nation's capital...you need to bone up immediately! you have no idea how lucky you/they have it here in Oz...) our dressing room was attached to the first aid room and was this cold sterile cube for breast-feeding moms.

flexibility. adaptation. thinking on your feet. it's essential. and for the most part i have it down. but...

one of the amazing characteristics of working with afp is just how hectic and organic and transmutable her style is. i learned on my first dolls tour in '07 that their setlists were merely maps, not the territory. i learned on the evelyn evelyn tour her willingness to play unorthodox venues. here on the oz tour...we still haven't locked our last two weeks in the antipodea...and that is okay.

most other tours are advanced weeks ahead of time. the flights are booked and the tourbook goes out before anyone has even left their home. most of the artists i've worked with tour in a static/rigid continuum of concrete shows and press schedules...their camp offices in all their various cities around the world rely on a specific set of information that's carved into stone and tattooed to the brain. anything missing from the tourbook is an unacceptable oversight.

not so with afp. our plans can change in a heartbeat. dinner with friends gets postponed when we meet fans in the park. 4 hours of promo gets delayed 3 hours when we find a cool space compatible to new art projects. plane tickets get cancelled and re-booked when the DIY bike kids offer to cruise us around their berg.

and through it all i've learned to be patient and flexible. ever adapting to the changes. and i don't mind. in the least. it's absolutely necessary to barrel through the rapids in order for my artist to accomplish everything she wishes. and i want her to. so i go with the flow.

but i'm not perfect. and at heart. i'm a rock kid. i do rock shows. i'm too used to getting my own way and getting free beer and getting what i want just because we walk into a venue and take over. the room becomes ours. there's always a respect. and i enjoy working with the venue people all over the world that i have had the pleasure to meet. but we still set the scene.

except in the exceptions. and there is one major exception. the world of theaters and concert halls. they don't operate within the normal rock parameters. they have...rules.

rock and roll does not have rules. rock and roll should never have rules.

but these spaces are not rock rooms. they exist in this liminal space where music and art are formal experiences. (i find that really bizarre...but i understand why we saw Philip Glass in the Hobart recital hall, and not Thekla in Bristol- it's an old tug-boat moored in the harbor...) and as such they have rules that i have to follow. we don't set the scene.

we don't just get free internet because we need it.
we don't just get to have food backstage because we are hungry.
we don't just get to let 30 extra people in on the guestlist...because there are seats. people sit in them. there is a limited number of seats.

i'm still not used to having to follow the rules. i screwed this up at the Lortel in NYC during evelyn evelyn tour. and it gave me a poor attitude. and i screwed it up again today at the National Gallery. it put me in a bad mood. and maybe for a bit- everyone suffered. or my ability to do my job was compromised. or maybe it wasn't and everything is okay and i'm just overly-sensitive.

but in any case- i am humbled. and reminded there is always room for growth.

and growing is pretty awesome.

also...Canberra is fucking rad. what an incredible place! i could go on for hours, but i think the Rat Patrol photos/vids should do all the talking, here and here.
riding curly-sue, courtesy of Rat Patrol Canberra, 2.1.11, photo by Red Dog