Even I couldn’t quite figure out exactly where Club Academy was. The ticket didn’t say Academy 2, where The Dresden Dolls performed last time, just Club Academy. A couple of strolls around the building didn’t help all that much. The campus signs, the ones that say “You are here, or here!”, didn’t help at all. After the third circuit I had decided that the queue at the front was THE queue, so joined the tail end of it. Those black and white striped tights are a sure indication of a Dresden Dolls fan.
The inside of the venue has been modernised since my last visit back in May 2006 and Club Academy is exactly as you would expect, underground with a low ceiling. I managed to secure a vantage point about 10 foot from the stage in front of a large pillar. The stage can only have been about 2 foot high, with a 2 foot high riser holding aloft Miss Palmer’s piano and stool.
Jason Webley was first on with just about the loudest accordion that I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard two, and a hat that spent most of it’s time either over his eyes or on the floor. He was really entertaining and funny. I mean how many times have you been instructed to hold your finger in the air and spin around 12 times. Obviously I didn’t… I like to stay in control. He looks like a younger, thinner, Chris Cornell, so it came as no surprise to hear that he hails from Seattle.
Zoë Keating was on next with a new cello. It makes a great, rich, sound which is then repeated and doubled with the aid of a MacBook pro and a bank of foot pedals. I wish I had been closer to the stage to see what pedals Zoë hits as she plays. I was also a little curious as to why she had to click her fingers into the microphone before she started.
Oooo ahhh!! And so to the recently departed Amanda Palmer. Draped in a veil and carried, for obvious reasons, by The Danger Ensemble across the front of the stage and then onto the piano stool. The veil removed Amanda started to play Astronaut from the new album Who Killed Amanda Palmer. The rest of the evening just flew by in a blur. Ampersand and Guitar Hero were other tracks from the new record as well as the one that name checks Google. Coin-Operated Boy, Mrs. O and Half Jack were the Dresden Dolls songs that I remember. A Smiths and a Regina Spektor cover, then Oasis, the rather contradictory Livin' On A Prayer with Jason, Zoë and Lyndon, the violinist, all joining in. Then back to the piano stool for the last song Leeds United.
Considering, by her own admission, Amanda had had a pretty crummy day I think that by the end of it she had cheered up considerably. We certainly made enough noise to turn her mood around.
Amanda Palmer Rest In Peace.