Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Dresden Dolls – Edinburgh, The Exchange 4/5/06

Filed under: Live Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 7:10 pm


For anyone walking past the queue lining up outside the venue, they’d be forgiven or thinking this was a fancy dress party. The many top hats, flowing black dresses, black rimmed eyes, suits, pale faces and even one girl covered head to toe in green could only make up the motley fan base for the neo burlesque musical expressionists that are Dresden Dolls. Their style of ‘punk cabaret’ entices fans as unashamedly outrageous and exuberant as their music, and the show put on tonight is more than enough to keep them happy.

William Douglas begins proceedings, sounding like a Scottish Kings of Leon. Following on is an interlude from street performers Bang On. Their assorted tools of percussion range form bins to pots and create a deafening beat. Amanda and Brian from the Dolls then keep with the traditions of street performers and encourage the crowd to donate what change to have the rather loud percussionists.

Devotchka appear just before the Dolls and give a remarkable performance, laced with Mediterranean influence, accordions, shaky bananas and huge horns. A breath of fresh air to the usual boring guitar based bands that are so often chosen to support superior artists.

Dresden Dolls come out to a rapturous reception from their adoring fans and look their usual distinctive, yet beautiful selves. Amanda is in her usual black dress, black suspenders and pale face combination whilst Brian adorns shorts and a shirt though this is soon drenched in sweat and subsequently lost.

The opening chords of ‘Sex Changes’ and tapped out by Amanda at her keyboard and the show kicks off in the fun, risque style you’d expect. The debauched and controversial ‘Missed Me’ from their debut follows, and the band are clearly having fun, with Brian’s antics behind the drum kit causing Amanda to break out into giggles and fluff a couple of lines.

This sense of fun runs through the entire show, the band acknowledging a gig goer’s desire to be entertained rather than just have an endless stream of songs passionlessly sung to them. The childish whispering of the twosome about what to perform next is as cute as anything, yet sees a rather dramatic cover Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ as its outcome. Two beautiful burlesque dancers then appear on stage, providing a brief interlude for the Dolls to recover and wipe off some of the large amount of sweat produced in the opening.

Amanda’s shining moment is when she appears alone on stage and belts out a beautiful version of ‘Me and the Minibar‘ to a captivated audience bringing a sense of emotion amidst all the hedonistic fun.

Songs are liberally chosen from both records, with older ones such as ‘Bad Habit’ and ‘Half Jack’ delighting the audience though the likes of ‘Backstabber’ sound just as compelling. Sadly, there’s no ‘Girl Anachronism’ nor ‘Gravity’, but it’s hard to see what songs they could have replaced as the rest were all such joys to behold. All in all, an incredibly fun night surrounded by beautifully dressed people. Wonderful.


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