Monday, January 12, 2009

They Had Me At "Brechtian"

It's fun to be 20 again -- especially when you're pushing 50!

Two years ago, my long-time best friend, an RPI engineer who owns some timberland, gave me a CD by The Dresden Dolls, a Boston-based rock duo that describe their niche as "Brechtian Punk Cabaret". He said some of the clever lyrics reminded him of Tom Lehrer, although his beloved spousal unit thought they were "too angry".

As a former German language student, they had me at "Brechtian". And again at "Cabaret". I would add: New Wave, expressionistic, confessional, theatrical, intense. The Dresden Dolls are a magically matched pairing of incredible lead vocalist, lyricist, keyboardist, and art party impresario Amanda Palmer with the equally leading, theatrically talented drummer Brian Viglione. The combination of Amanda's pounding rock piano and Brian's perfect punctuation and talent for expression creates a full orchestration with only two instruments. The music videos that they've produced are visual and aural wonders, artsy and polished, bringing out the duo's dark, angsty humor and dangerous edge.

Two years on, I've collected three Dresden Dolls CDs, two concert DVDs, plus the new solo CD by Amanda Palmer. I've attended one concert by The Dresden Dolls and one by Amanda solo, supported by an Australian performance art troupe, The Danger Ensemble. I've stood in an autograph line -- Amanda and Brian are famously welcoming to their fans -- and attended an afternoon sound check and photo op, where my beloved spousal unit gave Amanda & Co. three loaves of bread fresh from the bakery for their pre-concert table.

I've ironed the band's logo onto a t-shirt. Seriously, dude.

I once introduced myself to Amanda as a fan with the "Geezer Brigade". She responded to my self-deprecation with a cheerfully emphatic, one-word barnyard epithet. My redeeming encounter with the muse. It's good to be 20 again!

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