Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Dresden Dolls changed my life.
Not really. Well sorta. Kinda.
Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite band of all time is, hands down, The Dresden Dolls. I have a lot of reasons, but suffice to say that this band came into my life while I was going through a very difficult era and they've stayed with me through now. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of seeing them perform live at Busters Billiards & Backroom in Lexington, Kentucky.
Detailed writeup and photos after the jump.
I was a very angry, introverted, and depressed teen. I dealt with bullying daily (I'll save the gory details for another day) and essentially felt like I was a freak of nature. Music was one of my few emotional outlets, and I listened to it almost constantly. A lot of it I could relate to somewhat, but I never encountered a band or artist who I felt knew where I was and where I'd been. Then, I discovered the Dresden Dolls. So much of their music felt like it could be a soundtrack to my life (Good Day, Truce, Sing, Half Jack, and Bad Habit for example). Amanda Palmer became one of my biggest inspirations. Here was a woman who didn't give a damn that some might consider her an outsider, hell, she celebrated her weirdness. She was confident, talented, and she gave me the courage to do that too. As some might know, she's also now engaged to one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman.
I'm not going to go all corny and say that their music is the sole reason I was pulled out of that depression, but it told me that no, I wasn't alone.
November 14, I saw them live in Lexington Kentucky. This show was, hands down, the most incredible show I've ever been too. Even Muse back in September couldn't compete. The venue, Busters Billiards & Backroom, had the feel of an old warehouse (I believe that's what it started as?). It was far larger inside than it seemed, with a front bar/pool hall, and behind that, a large backroom and stage. The crowd was a pretty visible mix of newer fans/fans of Amanda Palmer's solo work and older Dolls fans. It was pretty easy to tell who was who, really, as many of the older fans (myself included) dressed up in cabaret/burlesque/whatever the fuck you want outfits, while many younger fans were either of the generic hipster group or hoodies and jeans. Funny enough, they stuck out a lot more.
(me, zan, ian. Ha, totally got cut out of the pic. fail)
The opening bands, Ford Theater Reunion and Chico Fellini, were both quite enjoyable. That's a first for me, I rarely enjoy all the opening acts at shows.
The Dolls were flawless. They played it just like an old-school show, complete with Brian's over-the-top pantomiming during songs. Amanda liked to change up songs, simply to throw off the people singing along, it seemed. It was pretty hilarious, really. But it was amazing standing in front, singing at the tops of our lungs to the songs that made my teen years a little less hellish. The encore consisted of Amanda crowdsurfing while singing Mein Herr from Cabaret, then their signature encore of Black Sabbath's War Pigs.
Afterward, they did their first signing session of the tour. I had them sign my top hat, and they loved it, or so I'd like to think.
The hour and a half drive back was passed in a happy blur. I volunteered to do the drive back to Cincinnati, as my ridemates had another hour drive after I was dropped off. I expected to be exhausted, but really, I had so much energy. This concert was really one of those experiences that will stay with me for a long time. I went through a personal crisis recently, and I felt like, for the first time in several months, that a load had been taken off my shoulders.
So, Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, thank you. I wish there were better words to convey how much gratitude I have for you two.
(our gift for the band: Pony Stack. They were amused)