Shortly after posting this, I should be attending a concert in Detroit. Phil and I are going to see Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra. I’m both excited and terrified by this. Terrified because of my usual anxiety about crowds and unfamiliar surroundings, and excited because Amanda Palmer makes me care about music.
I have a lot of musical influences. Talk music with me, and within five minutes I’ll find a way to work in a mention of The Kinks or just Ray Davies. Ten minutes brings out world-class talent like Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker. A few more minutes and I’ll tell you all about Wade Curtiss and Hasil Adkins. My point is that I love music and all of the corners and edges in which it resides.
My first exposure to Amanda Palmer — and exposure is often an accurate word with her — was the video for “Coin Operated Boy” by The Dresden Dolls, which a coworker showed me. The song was whimsical, sad, and drenched with emotion, and the video was a masterpiece of artifice. I immediately bought the album and listened to it raptly. The blend of craft and rawness awed me. Screams of agony mixed with carefully constructed musical chaos. At times I feared for Palmer’s fingers and the piano keys she punished with them.
This was passion. This was music that made me feel something beyond simple joy, sorrow, or anger. It made me understand it, and I cared about it.
Not everything that Palmer has done in her career since then has made me react this way, but neither should I expect it to. Because she is passionate about her music she is always exploring, always experimenting. To ask her to remain always the same for my sake is to seek to kill what makes her worth listening to in the first place.
I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for her album with The Grand Theft Orchestra, “Theatre Is Evil”. It turned put to be a really good album with a few outstanding songs. Songs I care about, that I invested in with money and heart.
So yeah. Tonight I’m going to a crowded concert in an unfamiliar venue, despite my anxieties. They can flood my system with bad chemicals, but they can’t overcome my passion for music.