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Live Review: Amanda Palmer

Pussycat doll

Pic: Elliot Franks
Amanda Palmer is precariously – and probably blasphemously – straddling a church balcony, a beatific look in her eyes and ukulele in her hands, smiling her way through ’20s jazz standard ‘Makin’ Whoopee’, which she dedicates to her beau, fantasy Renaissance dude Neil Gaiman. It’s not the only time he gets a shout-out – she also sings the Gaiman-penned ‘I Google You’, a bluesy number about modern love and sweet internet stalkery. Yet tonight is all about this former Dresden Doll, who again proves she’s one of the most talented singer-songwriters around – her muscular voice and pounding keyboard-playing elicit more shivers down the spine than a whole bucket of ice cubes.

Echoes of The Magnetic Fields reverberate around her solo work, like ‘The Point of It All’ and ‘Blake Says’. Palmer also plays a fair few Dresden Dolls songs, including a poignant rendition of ‘Truce’, which compares a break-up to the Twin Towers attacks, playing it after realising she’s not only in a real church but on the 9/11 anniversary. Not long in, Palmer looks up from her keyboard, a slightly terrified expression on her face. She’s forgotten the words. “We can split Germany” yells a fan from the crowd, and on she goes, more moving than ever. It’s not the only mistake she makes during the two-hour show, but however annoying such errors are to her – she later brands the gig a “fuckshow” on Twitter – her worshipping fans barely notice, and are charmed by the fact she’s so evidently human. Nicking support act Polly Scattergood’s backing band for ‘Oasis’, she cheerfully announces, “We’re all going to hell!” That we doubt very, very much.

Leonie Cooper

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