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Punk Doll
Amanda Palmer brings her lively “punk cabaret” to the State Theatre.
By Doug Rule
Published on November 12, 2009

Amanda Palmer is nothing if not unpredictable.

Amanda Palmer''I like mixing up music and lyrics in ways that are confusing to compel the listener,'' the pop musician says. ''That's another thing I really like about this art form. You can make as much or as little sense as you want and you're not going to get arrested.''

Palmer identifies as bisexual -- ''I like fucking girls,'' she says -- but relates best to gay men. ''I think I'm secretly a gay man trapped in a woman's body,'' she jokes. She's been touring as a solo artist for a couple years now, and last year released a superb solo debut album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer.

But the 33-year-old is best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the Dresden Dolls, currently on hiatus. With drummer Brian Viglione, the Boston-based Dolls – with no real connection to its namesake German city – made self-described ''punk cabaret'' music.

''Calling the band punk cabaret was a decision early on to make sure it didn't get called something stupider,'' Palmer laughs. My music ''is certainly not your straight-ahead, run-of-the-mill indie-rock, and it's not bar rock, but it's also not really musical theater.''

Though Palmer's background is in musical theater, she detests the genre. ''I kind of cringe when I hear people on stage singing with vibrato, and doing jazz hands. I think it's why I chose rock over theater. I didn't like the sheen that seems necessary to be a part of musical theater.

''If I were to ever [write] a musical," she continues, "I would try very hard to make it an experience for the audience to take part in." And at her shows, audience members definitely take part. They've been known to engage in such stunts as stilt-walking and fire-breathing.

''I always tell people to get there at doors,'' Palmer says. ''It's always interesting from minute one.''