Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

Palmer brings wild act to Pearl Street

Don’t be put off by superstitions. Sometimes 13 is a lucky number.

This Friday, Nov. 13, Dresden Doll’s singer, songwriter and pianist Amanda Palmer will try her luck at Pearl Street Clubroom in Northampton. The 9 p.m. show follows the recent conclusion to her “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” tour.

Palmer’s distinctive blend of powerful piano melodies and daring drama has come to be referred to as punk cabaret. Music and performer alike are always theatrical but never over the top.  

Having grown up in Lexington, Mass. Palmer is another proud product of the Bay State. An all around performer, she has been playing music since her early high school years. Upon graduating, she went on to attend Wesleyan University and became highly involved in the dramatic arts.

In songwriting Palmer draws directly from her influences, from operas to indies.   She has performed with the likes of Regina Spektor and …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

While her Dresden Dolls act rests on indefinite hiatus, Palmer has been forging the way for a solo career.  

Her first solo studio release, “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” debuted in September of 2008. The album was born from a surprisingly diverse ensemble of artists, including producer and piano pop king, Ben Folds, and writer, Neil Gaiman.

Gaiman is most recognized for the novel “Good Omens” and children’s tale “Coraline,” which was recently adapted to film. He was also responsible for the art accompaniment to “Who Killed Amanda Palmer.” However, his connection to Palmer’s project did not end with the album release. Gaiman and Palmer have been in a relationship since the summer of this year.

Her debut was somewhat of a concept album, chronicling the life and hypothetical “death” of Ms. Palmer. It remains semiautobiographical throughout, touching on some of the performer’s darker life experiences. The title is also a blatant “Twin Peaks” reference, for fans of 90s television programming.

“A lot of the songs are piano ballads that never found a home on a Dolls’ record, because I hadn’t wanted to overload the record with slow material. But there’s a really intense, exciting energy to the tracks at the same time. It definitely won’t drag,” said Palmer of the album in an interview with The Boston Phoenix.

“Astronaut” opens the album with a jolt.  Only the percussion section, composed of none other than Folds himself, matches the ferocity of Palmer’s piano track. Put simply, the song educes shivers, a rare reminder of the power of piano and a strong vocalist. 

Showing off her softer side, songs like “Ampersand” and “Blake Says” feature hushed vocals over lush piano. She transitions from whispers to elevated arias with surprising ease.

As close to her music as she could safely be, Palmer is not afraid to handle touchy subjects, most of which she bases on her own experiences. The most notable of these true-life tales is “Oasis,” a controversial account of rape and abortion set to a bright piano backing. For this reason, Palmer says on her blog that the song was banned from rotation in the UK with representatives claiming it made light of “rape, religion, and abortion.”

Confounded by the harsh reactions of her UK label, Palmer responded in her blog on amandapalmer.net saying, “When you cannot joke about the darkness of life, that’s when the darkness takes over.”

Palmer has also covered tracks from a wide variety of sources. Admittedly influenced by Spektor, she has taken a stab at several of the young songwriter’s finest as well as a slew of other modern acts. One of her first recordings with Folds was a cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” which she released via her myspace page.

Opening for Palmer is Nervous Cabaret, a New York based band that has taken much of its inspiration from Palmer’s work with the Dresden Dolls.

There are quite simply no other voices in the industry quite like Palmer. She is pure piano power and sass, all at once captivating and terrifying. The performer pours her entirely into every song, broadcasting the type of brutal honesty few people even have in private.

Regardless of superstitions, Palmer is worth the risk.

 Amanda Palmer is performing on Friday, Nov. 13 at 9 P.M. at Pearl Street Ballroom in Northampton.  Tickets are $17.50 in advance and $20 at the door. 

 Angela Stasiowski can be reached at astasiow@student.umass.edu.

Leave A Comment