An auspicious night of revelry and musical joy!
byon June 1, 2017
Sometimes, even though it seems like the odds are stacked against you, problems invariably sort themselves. At least, this is what I was telling myself to keep calm after discovering that a number of unforeseen circumstances were possibly going to have ended my night before it could begin. Luckily, as I waited in the increasingly cold and increasingly dark evening, this little mantra proved to be true, and all the tribulation was made worthwhile by an absolutely stunning performance that followed.
I’ve been to exactly three shows (now) at The Troubadour, and not a single one of those shows has been anything less than extraordinary. The venue has a glorious intimacy to it, a holdover from its 60s roots. This made the excited energy in the crowd all the more tangible as Amanda Palmer, Edward Ka-spel, and Patrick Q. Wright took to the small stage. If I didn’t know any better I would have told you that I went to a house party show! That’s how specially intimate the performance was. The three musicians told stories relating to songs, as well as joked in such a friendly manner, responding to crowd-thrown comments with a deft perfection that you rarely see in large venues.
The majority of the evening was spent telling stories in relation to the songs from the recently released I Can Spin A Rainbow — many of which are quite melancholy — and peppering in a few songs from the expansive catalogs of both artists, which fit the overall theme of mistrust and insanity parading around in the present tense of modern life. It was fitting that the final US date of the all too brief tour would be one of the most enjoyable by the artists as well as the crowd. Jokes about British vs American pronunciation, Donald Trump, and other silliness were met with equally sobering stories about dangerous Uber rides (“Rainbow’s End”) and an Afghani girl whose father gave her a vial of poison to carry around just in case she was caught dressing in drag to participate in sports (“Shahala’s Missing Page”).
Well-known songs were given extended intro phrases, breathing extra life into them, including the show stopping final encore of the Dresden Dolls tune “Half Jack.” Contrasting Ka-spel’s wispy half-playful, half-sinister approach, Palmer’s intense ferocity at the piano brought chills up and down my spine, bringing a stunningly fantastic conclusion to a brilliantly intimate and equally arresting evening.