A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
One year ago Amanda Palmer, formerly a solo act, formerly formerly of The Dresden Dolls, formed a new band (The Grand Theft Orchestra) for her new record. She loved Melbourne so much that she decided to record the album there. So her American band flew halfway around the world for a month of rehearsals, shows, and recording.
Her/their chosen method of debuting the new group was a five night residency spread over two weeks at the Northcote Social Club. These five shows were the band’s first performances together. In addition to being a grand unveiling of the new ensemble, these shows were a method of testing the new music to see what worked, what needed revising, what needed to be cut, and how the crowd would respond.
I attended all five shows.
Over the next couple weeks, on the 1 year anniversary of the shows, I will be posting my review of each. Each review was written before attending the following show, working off of memory and setlists where available. Since the songs being performed were still works in progress, and since Amanda likes surprises, those in attendance were not allowed to film or record anything. They went so far as to request that new song titles and lyrics not be posted in advance of the album’s release.
These reviews are being posted a year after the show, about 6 months out from the release of the album, because I am respecting the band’s wishes. That is ultimately one of the weird draws about Amanda Palmer and the Amanda Palmer fan scene. The band did five shows to five hundred people each. And the majority of those in attendance were not repeat viewers like myself. Yet even with a couple thousand people watching the shows, the community was respectful in keeping mum on details of the new album. The fans are along for the ride, and they embrace not just the music, but the spirit, the culture, and each other. To break the silence wouldn’t just be going against the wishes of a group kind enough to let the fans in on the creative process, but stabbing at the community as well.
So starting later today, I present the five nights of AFP & the GTO.