Monday, 15 July 2013

Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra: Roundhouse. July 12.

I loved this show. And I nearly didn't go, shame on me! It was fantastically eccentric and felt like so many other things outside of a standard gig being kind of vaudeville mixed with street art, cabaret, and punk… and all in Camden Town (which of course is known for its diversity). Surprisingly 'Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra' managed to make this show feel personal and partially political (blah blah...) culminating in a memorable event.

So her secret? She loves her fans, she appreciates them, she trusts them. Seriously, that crowd surf right around the Main Space at Roundhouse and being naked playing a keyboard with a song you wrote hours earlier in response to negative media coverage… that took some faith.

She appears pretty fearless as an artist, in creativity, in opinion and although this may get her in trouble sometimes, it gains her a crowd she can connect with on many levels. However if you watch her talks or read her blog, she shares her innermost turmoils and hangovers beyond the realm I could comfortably in real life let alone online, and this so far is the tool she uses to ensure that connection and reject distant celebrity.

The night involved an avant pop marching band, 'Perhaps Contraption' and 'Bitter Ruin' (unbelievably amazing female voice so check them out), 'Tom Milsom', 'Jherick Bischoff',  'Simple Pleasures', 'Sxip Shirey' and 'Kate Miller Heidke' (she did a song about facebook but personally I like her cover of 'The Real Slim Shady' more).  Basically, Amanda introduced and sang with everyone which just added to the personable intimacy of it all, quite something to pull off in a venue that size. Hand-picked, it seems by Amanda, whether it was a creative friend, via a tweet, or someone she met outside. Who knows? It worked in its busyness, she had many to support her… and on an equal trade as they were all worthy of the platform if you doubted  with any fleeting reservations to begin with.

She is infectious, a collision of vulnerability and strength which comes through in her music, photography and writing. I've spent the last three days sharing her infectiousness with everyone I know.

But importantly, the setlist, 'The Killing Type' sounded amazing, 'Trout Heart Replica', 'Want it Back', 'The Bed Song' mixed in with some of the older Dresden Dolls tracks and mingled with bringing in her support acts to sing with intermittently perfectly. She came on around 8.45 and went off at 11pm. At no point was anyone looking at a clock.

Kudos for her Liam Gallagher face in an anecdotal way when telling the crowd how she bumped into him and asked him to bring her a flower on stage  *but* he wasn't sure if she was taking the piss…and for keeping her promise to perform Pulp’s Common People in full after ‘doing it by accident’ at Glastonbury Festival just a fortnight ago. 

So here’s her response to The Daily Mail about her rebellious boob taking on the British sun on a stage at Glastonbury. A feminist rant can be funny and powerful ladies and gents. To be honest most of the press should take note. My only boob of the night was yelling over the music 'look out for Scroobius Pip, you can't miss him, he tweeted he was coming', not realising he was stood behind me in true pantomime fashion. (thankfully my voice is tiny) Anyway, this video contains a naked woman if you need warning...even my parents who have read the Daily Mail for at least twenty years have just cancelled it, possibly unrelated but let’s rejoice anyway!

And here’s the TED talk that fascinated me regarding the internet and music and the whole global village that I in equal measure love and hate, trust and fear,  and made me get to that gig and now I'm in love… and clutching a flower with intense eye contact. Listen. x

Stream Theatre is Evil on her website here.

Images: Melodee Writes, share away if you please, they're not as blurry as my usuals, just kind of pixely  x

Monday, 1 July 2013

Emika- DVA: album review

Dva is a beautiful thing from start to finish… the album mixes up techno, classical, trip hop, chillwave, dance, oh just about everything? In its entirety, it sounds contemporary and unique, leaving well behind any accusation of club retrospective while gathering up elements and dropping them *booooom* into a pit of post dubstep?

No, not really, what bullshit trying to define and box everything up, just listen to it and free yourself.  Ema Jolly aka Emika even covers Wicked Game *how dare she, I hear you cry* well, I love that too. So what if everyone covers it.

Starting with the orchestral Hush Interlude (feat Michaela Srumova) that jumps effortlessly to 'Young Minds', throws itself into glitchy 'She beats' and closes side A with 'Filters', it’s all so tech-pop perfect and sounds amazing on the double LP vinyl, every bit of Emika’s composing travels clearly and crisply.

Side B is my favourite so far, I actually put it on first by accident, then had to backtrack a bit to the Interlude, all part of the joy and effort of putting on a record of course, there’s sides and it’s a tactile, unrushed experience in music listening. Each and every track sends shivers up your spine. ‘After The Fall’ is so melancholically enchanting and deals with the darker sides of intimate relationships, a theme that weaved through Emika’s debut and continues to do so on this album, angst in its intensity and truly addictive listening.

'Sing To Me' asks you to do just that really (and was a great encore at her recent London gig) and then 'Dem Worlds' just takes you over a rainbow into a huge cinematic, *erm * big soundscape thing and glides effortlessly into 'Primary Colours', which as I listen to while writing, I just keep floating off so will no doubt have to re-write this…or perhaps I’ll throw caution to the wind and just leave it all dreamy to mirror the music. I just love electronic music when it starts sticking in orchestral stuff.

Side C starts with 'Sleep With My Enemies' which is just perfect and really stood out at the album promo at Birthdays a couple of weeks ago. I kind of wish I’d had a bit of time with the album before the gig but it’s great finally hearing and getting the reminder of a good night. On first hearing, this track resonated, the vocals, the layered instrumentation all melt together superbly and appropriately sinks into 'Wicked Game' and the shadowy sides of human love, lust, loss and jealousy. 'Fight For Your Love' puts you back into clubland after *predictably * losing yourself on a beach shot in black and white for the last track. I love the pop beat and her vocals in this one, it’s the lighter side Emika, versatile but still with some fight in her composure alongside a bit of dancefloor anthem.

Here she is doing 'Sleep With My Enemies' and chatting intermittently...this clip does capture her stage presence. It will feed your soul, your heart and make you feel pleasure, as she says and hopes it will herself.

Side D reverbs into 'Mouth to Mouth', and I try to avoid comparisons now, but there’s a touch of Crystal Castles in this one, a sort of come down, morning after the crazy night feel to it and as the album unfolds, you start to get the feel of a story being told, the mouth to mouth symbolising the recovery, jumping in and out of beats as if lying on a club floor battling a near death experience. And then 'Searching', a furious lament of green-eyed jealousy and stomach churning anger *bitch*. I thought this was put in for the live gig originally but obviously online versions have been softened as this track leaps with vengeful, desperate heartbreak and despair to quietly menacing fury.

'Centuries' is sublimely melodramatic and dark with an iciness that just touches base at this point in album, a detachment that’s cold and needed and vampire like in its feeding off the emotion of the previous tracks.  The operatic bit that’s in the video is missing sadly but forgivable with an album this insanely good. The album closes with 'Criminal Gift', quite a changer in a similar way to the outro of Emika's debut.

To sum up… GET THIS ALBUM.

Related Post:
Emika live at Birthdays