Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra- Melbourne Night 1

it's been a while, huh? and i admit- it's off to a rough start. no setlist or photo but...what can i say, melbourne, you inspire me. the timing felt right. so here i am. 1:14 AM, sitting on the couch in JAA HQ, cracking the first post-show beer, listening to Chad VanGaalen on repeat....and figuring i'd pick this up again.

forgive me. i only landed yesterday and today started early. i'm still kinda zombie-fide from the flight, and i floated through most of the day on foggy shots of out-of-body adrenaline. auto-pilot. disjointed.

y'all familiar with Chad VanGaalen? maybe i'm spelling it wrong. i admit- i've only lately been turned on to him. just getting into him now. but i want "Clinically Dead" on the Infiniheart album to be the track that plays in the movies in my walking-down-the-street-in-a-crowded-city montages. the ones where its kinda in slo-mo and all the other people are out of focus...check it out! great track.

Melbourne- it's like almost coming home in a way. or stepping into familiar clothes that have just come out of the dryer. warm and ready.

and its not the weather or the architecture or the food or the trams....its the community. its knowing i have a world of folks over here to see and greet and love and hang and drink and talk and catch up with. folks i've known ages and folks i only met last year this time. it was so good to see you all tonight. special. rare.

life on the road will do it. you'll miss weddings and birthdays and deaths and births. you'll go months, years, without seeing your family. you'll spend more time per year in your bus bunk jerkin off than at home sleeping with your lover. catch up with your college buddies in town twice a year. its a special sorta sacrifice. or summat.

but on the flipside.

you put down a different set of roots.

the network of places and faces and coffee shops and street signs that result from repeated visits. no matter how brief.

a familiarity. a coziness. can i say"hyggeligt" here, or is that too abstract?

I'm a sucker for foreign words that have no adequate english translation:

hygge in danish.

saudade in portuguese.

in hindi- the maan is the place in the body between the heart and the mind.

we're so lucky we have so many of you incredible kids here in Melbourne to welcome us and take care of us and, well- just all of it. thank you everyone. it's gonna be a great few weeks.

so the show? Northcote Social Club Night 1 of 5? well? you guys tell me! Amanda really wanted to create this space. these gigs. a yard to air out all the new material before hitting the studio to record her next album. a chance for all you all to hear it first before it went down to the wax. tell us what you think of the new tunes! we're all super duper curious to hear what everyone has to say about it all.

wanna know what i think? i think its all gonna be badass.

tonight was the first time A and J and C and M have appeared together on stage. ever. and it rocks. and its an incredible band. there may have been a celebratory whiskey shot in the green room before hitting stage. those boys- they're kickass musicians and they know how to stomp the boards. JD provided the excellent costumes for them. our little room backstage was a stumbling kaleidoscope of jewelry and jackets and computers and beer bottles and everything sparkly. and the horn players. they arrived at 6:PM and rehearsed for 10 minutes and they NAILED it. sure the day itself had its bumps and hiccups and triumphs and tomfoolery like any show day- but then the lights go down and the band steps on stage and all the everything fades away as it all comes together and...happens. this thing. this creation. some roving genesis actualized. a loud and heavy force of nature.


i wish i had more juicy stuff for y'all. more behind the scenes details and crazy awesome stuff that went down. but honestly? i'm beat and starting to run off a bit. no longer able to recall the madness or the magic. just that it happened. and i'm so grateful to be here for it. and to be here. and to be here with all of you....let's do this again? let's say 4 more nights?

and seriously. leave comments. tell us what you thought. be honest! the good, the bad, what worked, what didn't. love/hate. anything. and also- there's still some tickets left for next week's shows on the 6th and7th. tell your friends to come. come again. tell somebody whose never even heard of Amanda before. hum a few bars to your dog and see what he or she says! dying to know.

today on the tram i saw a girl with a parrot on her shoulder eating some sorta tree branch.

god bless you, melbourne.


YanaYans said...

The song Amanda performed for the first time "standing up" instead of sitting behind the keyboard while the boys had a break. The song where her heart should get smaller. I bawled! That's a great sign from me, put it on the CD please! Also loved "Kill". The band definitely has something. By the second show I was able to sing along to the some of new songs. Not word for word just yet, but it's clearly an indication that my brain likes and has absorbed the new material! The additional musical education of boots and pants, boots and boots pants..... hat and shirt, certainly was a bonus. That's worth a spot on the record. Keep up your awesomeness Eric, you work so hard. Thank you all :)

Simone Smith said...

The music is sounding fantastic! All of us really have enjoyed the shows so far and personally, I can't wait to see the shows again next week at the NSC!
There's such emotion, energy and love for the songs, you can see it in everyone's face! The audience get a real kick out of seeing musicians that are having a good time on (and off) of stage. It's also lovely to see management having a great time too!

It's obvious to see the amount of effort that Amanda, the Grand Theft Orchestra guys and the effort that you've put into organising all of this, it's wonderful, keep up the great work.

It looked as though it was hard for Amanda after the first night because her voice probably has never had such a hard workout before, but I'm sure after the shows at NSC are finished she'll be used to it and the record will sound great, the songs certainly sound up-to-scratch. Even on the second night, with her voice not being 100%, it was still a flawless victory! The crowd were dancing and having a blast.

Keep up the great work, all of you!
And thank you all!

- Simone

leishkin said...

The band is AMAZING!

The first night blew my mind and I could not stop grinning the whole time - the 2nd night was just as good, with the added bonus of another new song, and slightly less volume meaning I wasn't in pain from the epicness of the band as I was the first night! (but what better reason to go deaf, really?)

'Killing Type' is one of the greatest songs (not just of AFP) that I have heard in months, it is so catchy and I love the beat and the words - I really feel it's one of the absolute best songs she's ever written.

But then again, all of the songs are great - the energy that Amanda and the band put into them is so obvious and it's just so easy to catch their enthusiasm, I couldn't help but bounce through every song.

Yesterday I found myself looping lyrics from one of the new songs (it doesn't matter if you want it back, you're giving it away/you've given it away(?)) and bopping along even though those were the only words I could remember :)

There is however one part in one of the songs (one of the last ones they performed, with Amanda out at the front almost punching the front row- it must be either 'raggin' or 'olly' on her setlist) Where Amanda and Chad are singing over each other and it gets so loud and slightly off-key because they're trying to harmonize/or deliberately not harmonize that irked me both nights, it just got too loud/off to understand what either of them were saying. Which is a shame, because I'd like to know what they were saying ;) That is my only bit of constructive criticism.

The shows are just so much fun - I'm slightly sad that I am only going to 4/5 (missing tonight) but I'm SO excited to see them again tomorrow and Monday! Surely that's the sign of a great band - when you don't mind seeing them 4 times in 2 weeks, and you kinda want to see them more.

Thank you for being awesome, we all see how much work you put in :)