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Live Review: Amanda Palmer

23 January 2017 | 2:52 pm | Liz Giuffre

"There was something so wonderful about being able to yell, 'Fuck that!' in response and have it ring out through the concert hall."

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Amanda Fucking Palmer (with some help from local artist Brendan Fucking Maclean) was fantastic. Airing new and old tunes, the music helped with news of the day — Donald Fucking Trump as the American President. Oh, and there was also a giant handmade gold clitoris; sparkling, shiny and called "The Glitoris". It was divine — and not just because we were a couple of frozen cocktails down from the pop-up Summer Bar outside beforehand. Maclean opened, then Palmer took over. Moving from uke to piano, she joyfully proclaimed, "I'm not promoting anything, we can do anything we want!" And she did.

Moving through selections from Piano Is Evil (a remake of Theatre Is Evil), Palmer also played her Patreon-funded music-as-it-happens. Highlights included the gently chaotic ten-minute saga written after her baby was born, and a cover of Cat's In The Cradle from a recent Melbourne show on motherhood with Missy Higgins. Palmer acknowledged that the cover shouldn't really work but, when you stopped and broke it down, it was truly heartbreaking. Especially since, as she had discovered, it was actually singer Harry Chapin's wife who wrote the song's lyrics.

After about an hour and a half, the orange politician in The White House finally took over focus. With Maclean back, Palmer led a new protest song written the night before for today's Women's March — and there was something so wonderful about being able to yell, "Fuck that!" in response and have it ring out through the concert hall. "It wouldn't be an Amanda Palmer protest song if you weren't really sure about whether or not you're supposed to laugh, so, I understand," she smiled.

The pair also performed two magnificent covers — Regina Spektor's Uh-Merica (also with cathartic audience grunting) and then the remarkable Glacier by John Grant. The latter, introduced by Maclean with a shockingly recent and violent homophobic experience, was amazing and so very sad. The lyric, "This pain it is a glacier moving through you/And carving out deep valleys/And creating spectacular landscapes", was so bittersweet. When it finished we stood, clapped and sobbed — and were determined to take its message not to "become paralysed by fear". And so, the music continued and got lower-fi and deliberately silly (finishing with Map Of Tasmania and Ukulele Anthem) — a masterful demonstration of light and shade.

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