Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra The Middle East (Downstairs) Cambridge, MA August 2, 2012
If three days of back-to-back performances was taking its toll on Amanda Palmer and company, it was hard to tell. From the extended introduction to Do It With a Rockstar, with Palmer barreling through the audience with a megaphone, to the crowd singalong of Massachusetts Avenue, the new tracks came alive tonight. In particular, The Killing Type packed a wicked punch and is my hands down favorite from the live performances.
The sound was better than on Tuesday night and you could hear the difference especially in the two songs supported the string quartet Trout Heart Replica and The Bed Song. The strings vibrated throughout the room and it brought the emotional force of the compositions to full tilt. There was a moment during Astronaut where the melody is carried just on the weight of Chad Raines’ guitar and it carried crisply out to the audience and completely blew me away.
Though the setlist was similar to Tuesday night’s performance, when it veered off, it went in great directions. Hearing a live version of Idioteque (one of a few Radiohead songs covered by Amanda Palmer) was completely amazing, even if the song was more frenetic than even the studio version. The band pulled out a cover of The Motel’s Total Control that slipped easily in their set and bracketed by a conversation about the band performing with the Muppets. During Bottomfeeder, Palmer tossed herself into the crowd and surfed while singing the chorus.
You can tell the band is having a good time with one another. The chemistry shines through (Raines headbutting bassist Jherek Bischoff and standing on Michael McQuilken’s drumkit and McQuilken’s dead on impersonation of Elmo. Palmer’s take on Janice was pretty funny too). They closed the show by bringing everyone onstage for a jam of Leeds United and, as if not to be outdone, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra took one last song to the house, a Dresden Dolls classic Girl Anachronism that left the crowd winded and ecstatic.
Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra setlist
Do It With a Rockstar
The Killing Type
Trout Heart Replica
The Bed Song
How Awesome is My Band/Scene Change Music
Want It Back
Olly Olly Oxen Free
Leeds United (with Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys and Jaggery)