The Dresden Dolls at the Troxy— East London
I've been to Amanda Palmer concerts before and I've watched her webcasts but I'd never seen the Dresden Dolls before. For anyone who doesn't know they started in 2000 doing what Amanda called at the time"Brechtian punk cabaret"
The band did a lot of work prior to 2010 but relatively little since. Whether these performances at the Troxy in East London are part of something more than a special treat I have no idea, but at least I've seen them, or, as it turned out, felt them.
When Neil Gaiman reviewed a Dolls concert he said:-
"it’s very obviously a band that consists of two percussion players. They are two people who hit things. She hits the keys, he hits the drums."
I know Amanda can be loud, but this was the loudest most percussive thing I have ever heard. Years ago I heard Marianne Faithful doing an out and out rock set at Warwick university when Lois listened to half the concert from the entrance lobby because it was so loud. Dresden Dolls were way past that.
I heard Bob Dylan on his first electric tour back in 1966, playing with gigantic stacks of speakers behind the band. That was loud— on the bootleg album when the crowd got restless you can hear Bob say to the band "Play fucking Loud.” That was nothing.
I've heard the Rolling Stones and I've heard the Who— who were loud. The Dolls, two people armed only with drums, organ and amplifiers were louder than all that.
This concert was visceral, I found myself trying to remember the details of the pressure receptors in my guts, as the vibrations from Brian's drums gave me internal reverberations.
The percussion was accompanied by spotlights on speed, going off like fireworks, with smoke effects to add... well... to add.
The video clip is extracted from the opening number, play it as loud as your equipment will allow, if your guts vibrate then you're getting close to the experience; my apologies for the camera shake, everything shook, that's the point.
Did I enjoy it? Yes I was blown away. Would I risk hearing it again? I'm not sure, I have tinnitus and I'm getting old and right now, days after, my ears are still ringing and buzzing worse than before. I could handle the excitement all over again, but I'm not sure my ears could.