Show Report: Amanda F*#(ing Palmer

Music is beautiful, you guys. So freaking beautiful.

Aubrey declares victory as I try to capture the moment. Photo by Karen Cooke. More on Facebook!

Let me tell you a story.

I will start in fall of 2006. My very first college boyfriend is big into music. I am big into “music,” but by “music,” I mean “They Might Be Giants.” And that’s pretty much it. He introduces me to a lot of bands, and takes me to a number of concerts. The first concert – The Dresden Dolls. Before that concert, he lends me all of their music, and I listen to it. Constantly. By the time we see the show, I know all of their songs. They put on a fantastic show. Cary & I stand in front and see it all. We are moved.

Cut to: 2012. I have – somehow and with no plan to do so – started a band with my sister. We record an album, and on the day it comes out, we are invited to play on a cruise with my favorite songwriter in existence (except for maybe Neil Diamond. We can talk about that another time.) I am broke, but I am a full-time musician who spends a lot of time playing games with nerds and going to conventions. Life is strange but so, so good.

On June 12, after playing two concerts in a day in two different cities, we are preparing to go to brunch with the raddest 20-something ukulele songstress in the world. I look at Twitter and see this:

I tell keep my mouth mostly shut until Aubrey & I are driving home later that day. We collectively freak right out.

As the days and weeks pass, we get more and more nervous. Our fans are excited with us. As the event is not a regular “concert” per se – actually more of a benefit organized by a nonprofit, it’s unclear whether Amanda knows we are opening for her. We have no idea if we’ll even get to meet her.

Cut to: Tuesday, July 17. Four days before the concert. We get an e-mail to the band account from someone who works with Amanda. It’s a very short e-mail, and it contains this line:

What would you say if I said Amanda would be happy to sing the jeep song with you this weekend at the Q centre event?

I immediately call my mom.

The Jeep Song is an amazing, amazing song. It’s about seeing your ex’s car everywhere after you break up. The car in it is even a black Jeep Cherokee – which happens to be the car Aubrey’s ex used to drive. The feelings in this song strike true to me 100 percent. I love it.

We covered the Jeep Song at our very first concert – before we were called The Doubleclicks, before we had enough songs to really have a concert. It was on my birthday – it may have even been my 20th birthday – when I was still in college. The audience was only our friends. I’m sure everyone was very confused.

We put that song away for a couple of years, and after I ran into my ex driving a new car and apparently back in Portland, picked it up again, recorded a video, and played it at our CD release show.

HOW DID SHE KNOW? WHY would Amanda Palmer even google us? Isn’t she busy painting turntables and playing art shows? WHY IS SHE SO GREAT?

Cut to: Yesterday. We set up the sound system and sound-check for the concert. Amanda arrives. I try to act cool. Then we realize our instrument cases are in the way of the piano, and we run around frantically trying to remove our stuff while staying out of her way.

I busy myself rearranging the Green Room, and Aubrey comes to get me. “They said they want to practice the Jeep Song.” With us. Holy crap.

Amanda is sweet and wonderful. She says I should sing lead, so she can sing back-up. We rehearse twice. I know the words, but I bury my head in the lyrics sheet because I’m so freaked out by the whole situation.

The concert starts. The crowd is amazing. The energy in the room is fantastic. The room is full of smiling faces when we step on stage. Our set goes better than anything I could have imagined. We sing The Nerdy Birthday Song to my boyfriend Nate, and this picture is taken. He is an amazing person. This is what it looks like when he is extremely happy for me.

Our set ends, Amanda goes on. She calls us on stage (calling us “maybe my new favorite band” – which is awfully sweet.) We get to play the Jeep Song. Here is the moment (another version of this video is here.):

This is a photo of my sister, who is beautiful and generous and talented in ways I aspire to be and will never reach. This is what it looks like to have a sister who supports your dreams. I am so lucky.

We are happy, energized, speechless – Amanda is graceful and brilliant. The audience is full of love and joy.

Thank you, world, for putting amazing moments like this into our lives. Thank you to everyone who supports art and artists and silly people like us, and through your support makes wonderful things happen. It’s moments that make the world great. 

Now, if you don’t mind, I would like you to listen to the ukulele anthem and brighten your own life. (NSFW Lyrics):

 

 

 

 

 

quit the bitching on your blog
and stop pretending art is hard
just limit yourself to three chords
and do not practice daily
you’ll minimize some stranger’s sadness
with a piece of wood and plastic
holy fuck it’s so fantastic, playing ukulele-Amanda Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Show Report: Amanda F*#(ing Palmer

  1. It was an awesome show, especially because not only did I get to see Amanda F*#(ing Palmer, but I got to see the Doubleclicks – I think you two ladies are now my favorite Portland band!

  2. I admit, I didn’t know you before. I went for Amanda Palmer. She was amazing, there’s no doubt. YOU were amazing as well, now I know you and will consume all you have to offer. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. You’re clever and funny and worthy of praise.

  3. You guys were awesome. (And thank you for the extra ticket, by the way – got to bring a friend, which was not expected!)

    I will say that I came perfectly evenly because of AFP and you. I had unfortunately missed your show with JoCo, but loved your work online. When you said you are doing a show with Molly Lewis next month, I might have shouted “WOO-HOO!” or something similar, I don’t know.

    And my co-worker was properly jealous (and appreciative) of receiving the signed ticket – thanks!

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