Amanda Palmer, Klub Studio, Krakow


In Bristol, in July, being a bit late to the party and having heard only the one song, I wasn’t really on the wavelength.

This time, I got it. The show was better, the audience wildly enthusiastic, the performances more intense and dynamic.

The word exhibitionist doesn’t do ex-stripper Palmer justice, who somehow manages to be in your face for a very long time but gets away with it.

Somehow, and it’s quite a feat, she manages to hold the attention and keep your interest through a personal warmth and showmanship (showstrippership?) that few possess. It helps that the cabaret art-punk tunes are good and she plots and weaves the show in and out of unexpected paths that keep the interest.

It started with her singing, accompanying herself on ukelele, from halfway up a staircase at the side of the Klub Studio auditorium, a club a couple of kilometres outside the city centre, in Krakow’s studentland.

This led into the explosive Do it with a Rock Star – the song is better than its unsubtle title.

And considerably better live than the video on YouTube. A great, blistering opener that tells you we’re in for a good night.

The Grand Theft Orchestra are Chad Raines, on guitar – reminded me of early Adam Ant – the John Turturro-esque Jherek Bischoff on bass, and Michael McQuilken on drums, and this looks like the end of the road for the promotional tours in the wake of the Theatre is Evil album.

Second song was just as good but I don’t know the title.

Palmer’s got a Siouxsie Sioux presence and her vocals sometimes sound similar especially when she’s spitting out the lyrics. But she’s nowhere as remote and has more vocal range.

They had a crack at Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and Palmer performed most of this among the audience.

She’s in here somewhere – just a short clip.

Good to see here willing to shake up the show too.

The highlight of Bristol, a melancholic new song done on the ukelele, was missed out.

But that meant other stuff could feature.

See what you think of this tribute to the late Lou Reed, lit, appropriately, in a bordello crimson for the most part.

She engages so well with the audience sometimes so much so that she seems a bit controlling and both gigs featured mini-lectures. Well-meant, but still featuring a sense of “You should do this.”

A sort of female Bowie in that she’s interested in everything – using all instruments to their utmost and she’s keen to add a strong theatrical element wherever possible.

Joined by the Polish support Gaba Kulka at the end for a treatment of a traditional song.

It went like this.

Lots to admire and the locals loved it. More than two hours it went down a treat.

A kooky Krakow cracker.


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