Monday, March 30, 2009

Amanda Palmer: Culture Room Review

I have a problem with beginnings. I feel awkward when starting a new blog entry, relationship, a hobby, etc. I can only attribute it to some kind of performance anxiety. But the opposite was true of Amanda Palmer on Saturday, March 28th at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. She began with an electrifying performance of her song Astronaut and ended it by cooing Radiohead’s Creep with a ukulele.

She sang a total of ten songs at the most. But she charmed the audience with a generous number of smiles, stories, and jokes. In fact, the personal nature of her performance – laced with details about her favorite type of pancakes and how badly she wants to get dropped by her record label [see the video below] – made me forget I was in a club. Instead, I felt like I was visiting a friend who happens to be a musician and in between conversation, she played piano and sang some great songs.

One highlight involved an ‘Ask Amanda’ segment; she answered questions from the audience written to her on post it notes before the show. Well, guess what? She picked my question, which was: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen? She didn’t understand the question and asked for clarification. So, I raised my hand to catch her attention and, once she saw me, I explained I wanted her to pick the musician she liked the best and had been the most influential. She chose Leonard Cohen but explained that Tom Waits is ‘the coolest guy ever’ and that you have to respect Bob Dylan because, you know, it’s Bob Dylan.

The most poignant moment of the evening was when she sang the unreleased Trout Heart Replica, which was inspired by a trip to Minnesota to visit her friend, Neil Gaiman – mastermind behind Coraline. During her visit, they went to a trout farm to score fresh fish for dinner. But, much to her horror, she witnessed one of the farm workers kill a fish by beheading it and then slicing it open to take out its guts and heart. For 'laughs', the man grabbed the heart, showed it to Palmer and Gaiman and told them that, "the kids love this trick!"

“It didn't just keep beating for like a couple of seconds, it just kept going for like a minute," she explained teary-eyed.

She then began singing the lovely and haunting Trout Heart Replica and the absurd beauty and tragedy of the song best summarized both Palmer’s music and performance that evening.


  1. Such a great show, I'm a new fan now.
    Thank you Larissa!

  2. It was an amazing show, and you echo my sentiments perfectly. Thank you for capturing these videos, too; I was too far back for my little handheld to do a good job.

  3. I actually found these videos on YouTube! There are more but I thought these had the best quality...