Friday, March 2, 2012

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra- Melbourne Night 2

those who know me- know my driving record is really spotty.

i grew up in the country. rural country. remote country.

the kinda country where kids drive snowmobiles and ATVs to school. if it gets too cold they cancel school because all the buses freeze up and there is no way for the kids out in the sticks to get into town. the kinda country where everyone starts driving at 15 and has licenses by 16.

but i didn't get my license at 16. a series of fortunate events kinda screwed up my schedule. it didn't matter- i always had older friends or girlfriends to drive me around. and also, i failed the driving test twice- when i did take it.

but that second time- i was robbed. it was during the worst snow storm of the year and visibility was less than 2 feet. the examiner didn't like that i came to a full stop, instead of yielding per the sign, at the town's most blind and dangerous intersection.


but its okay. i'm over it. i got my license in my mid-20s shortly before getting into the biz- as i figured i'd need it to cart bands around.

good thing too. two weeks after getting my license i was driving a 15-person passenger-van all over brooklyn and manhattan. i was terrified.

now i'm into it. but it's still a lot of pressure: don't crash and injure the band. don't crash and damage the gear. don't get lost and be late. don't park somewhere the van/gear is gonna get towed. don't park and block the tiny alley behind the club that the giant food delivery trucks still need to get down. don't drive in london....don't slow down in arkansas...etc. etc.

i spent the last three days driving all over melbourne.

without a map.

so maybe i'm a wee bit proud.

or maybe melbourne is totally on the grid and all the places i had to get to were in straight lines...whose to say...

there's an old school modest mouse song here somewhere. or maybe a new one too- not really sure,  i started paying less attention to the newer albums. but man. back in the day, when they were still an indie band, and they played foot-stomping chain-smoking loud and dirty epics about disenchantment and loneliness and emptiness and all the great big nothing that makes this thing, this America- i was all over that.

i was also in university. i was feeling a lot of stuff. sadness was attractive.

i liked modest mouse so much. because they had so very few love songs. or if there was a song about love- it was a love for the smell of lightning-struck leather, or the place that time forgot, or the feeling you got from watching the moon-landing on tv...

i still love art about suffering. but i don't need to feel that way anymore. i'd rather sit behind the wheel, and roll down the window and crank the radio and drive all over town-

without a map.

Korzybski said: the map is not the territory.

what we do. this being here. it's so much more and less than that we frequently admit. much further from straight lines on the grid than we let ourselves believe...

drive safe....

but never yield....

i think i made a few illegal turns in the CBD. i may have driven down a pedestrian mall, or some Tram Only sections...

...good thing it was late...

...just joking...


...don't tell the band!

so night two? sadly Lisa Mitchell had to cancel. but amanda and the band shook things up with a solo uke song and an in-crowd dance party to start off the set. they played with the set order a bit, and amanda played some different songs during her solo interlude. never the same show twice!

which really says something. so many bands get up and play the same music every night. no interaction. no spontaneity. i've worked with bands that only had one albums' worth of material before- those were some short sets...a certain kinda bummer. though i suppose it's slightly understandable. its an interesting business this music business. frequently it comes down to timing. strike when the iron is hot. throw the band on the road if the people are demanding it- even if the band only has 9 songs.

this is not the tao of amanda. this is the family circus. the biggest little show in town.

it's true. amanda's voice was feeling the burn from the previous weeks' worth of rehearsing and performing. it's another delicate tight-rope walk. but she knows her limits. and she takes good care. never fear. the show was another killer. and the energy from the crowd was great. that energy. its a key factor. its a push and pull. artists feed off it. the energy of the crowd effects the energy of the show. and on wednesday we saw melbourne dance.

don't yield on the dancefloor. dance hard. dance like modest mouse was playing this is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about really. really. loud.

keep the comments coming! here and on amanda's blog. everyone's insight has been awesome!

see you soon.


YanaYans said...

It was a beautiful thing being told to get your groove on or, risk being confronted by a band member with the question'why aren't you fucking dancing?'
I loved the 'Plan B' approach in response to Lisa Mitchell's absence. It's really lovely to see them appearing so humble as they recognize and look after their audience. There is a respect and appreciation from all sides.
It was my first time in Melbourne and yes, there were times I felt I was taking my life into my own hands as I tried crossing the street.
It's unfortunate I'm unable to enjoy the rest of shows. But rest assured, when you kids come to Western Australia, you will all be handsomely looked after. And Eric, take comfort in the fact that there is really only 'one street' in Perth. It's called our Freeway!
To Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, keep making magic. There are many a'folk who SUPPORT and BELIEVE in you, well over the 100% marker. Well done guys x x x x.

Karina said...

i am always front and always dancing, well moving. sometimes i get embarrassed because i am unable to stand still when others seem to just stand there like emo stunned mullets.

anyway both shows so far have been fucking awesome. i have been left with bruises and a sore neck which is evidence of a good night, and can't wait for it to happen all over again tomorrow and wednesday.

one thing though, i was having an issue with the person standing behind me on wednesday last week. i do the whole wait for hours to get in the front so i can dance & feel connected but the dude behind me was practically standing on top of me trying to take photos. i had to crouch down so many times and during bits of songs i really wanted to be dancing to.

i know amanda welcomes people taking photos and wouldn't want to stop that but is any chance you can limit the amount of time people take photos. its one thing if there is a photo pit but another thing when the shutter is clicking in my ear and the camera lense hitting me in the head. the guy even pushed in front of my friend who had been waiting there for hours to get the stop she did.

other than that i am loving the new music... wouldn't mind the addition of some cow bell though!

Karina said...

spot not stop!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for helping those of us not there,
to be there.

And thanks for helping th music happen.