[a]Amanda Palmer[/a] 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 [b]‘Makin’ Whoopee’[/b], which she dedicates to her beau, fantasy Renaissance dude [b]Neil Gaiman[/b]. It’s not the only time he gets a shout-out – she also sings the Gaiman-penned [b]‘I Google You’[/b], a bluesy number about modern love and sweet internet stalkery. Yet tonight is all about this former [a]Dresden Doll[/a], 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 [a]The Magnetic Fields[/a] reverberate around her solo work, like [b]‘The Point of It All’[/b] and [b]‘Blake Says’[/b]. Palmer also plays a fair few [a]Dresden Dolls[/a] songs, including a poignant rendition of [b]‘Truce’[/b], 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 [a]Polly Scattergood[/a]’s backing band for [b]‘Oasis’[/b], she cheerfully announces, “We’re all going to hell!” That we doubt very, very much.