23 April 2006

The Dresden Dolls @ The Orpheum, 21 April

Missed the opener Porsches on the Autobahn, but Humanwine was very impressive. Holly's front act is a little too artificed for me, but behind the self-consciousness is a leonine, seductive presence that knows how to dance while singing (and given how many vocalists do this, it's still a bloody rare talent). Humanwine shares many of the same strengths as DD, which made them a particularly effective opener, but they're a strong band on their own.

The intervening theatrics between the openers and Dresden Dolls themselves--the sword swallower, the hula-hoop girl--are key to DD's atmosphere of "Brechtian punk cabaret." I knew this. I expected this. I still don't have any patience for it. The show's already long enough with two openers, and Humanwine (not to mention the block party outside) established the tone well enough not to need any theatrical badges of identity. Skip to the good stuff, already.

And The Dresden Dolls are the good stuff. Their theatrics are mostly (and rightly) limited to Amanda's voice and Brian's mime-drumming; everything else is in the music. Everybody in the audience knows "Coin-Operated Boy," and everybody in the audience knows the lyrics aren't what's sung on the CD. The jerky, powerful swing of songs like "Half Jack" is brilliant, even if bobbing or hopping is the only dancing it allows--there are plenty who take it up on that anyway.

No comments: