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Amanda Palmer covers the Tings Tings, admits to never reading Gaiman book at Brooklyn gig
November 16, 3:02 PMNY Rock Music ExaminerTina Benitez

Audience members were nearly aghast. Amanda Palmer admitted to never reading "Sandman," the best-selling graphic novel by her beau, author Neil Gaiman. The crimson-haired Dresden Doll had a few other surprises up her ruched, lime green satin skirt. Entering from the back of the Music Hall of Williamsburg Saturday night, rigged blow horn in hand and the pomp of backing band, New York's Nervous Cabaret leading her through the tight crowd, Palmer made her way to the stage crooning Dresden Dolls' "Missed Me."

Like the most malleable marionette propped behind her piano for most of the 14-song set, Palmer moved into "Astronaut" from her 2008 debut solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner) and Doll's "Mrs. O" before reading "Death by Falling Typewriter" from her book by the same "Who Killed" title, a collection of short stories on the various deaths of Amanda, penned by Gaiman.

More solo songs like "Ampersand" and "Look Mommy, No Hands" were worked in before Palmer broke into a special, Twitter fan request of "Pirate Jenny," originally written by playright Bertolt Brecht and American-German composer Kurt Weill, whose name is adorned on the front of Palmer's piano (not the instrument maker Kurzweil). Palmer forgot the lyrics three times but managed to make it to the end of the standard. Experimental composer Sxip Shirey joined Palmer on-stage with a blow-horn contraption simulating a kazoo for third Doll's tune "Mandy Goes to Med School" and left during The Animals cover of "The House of the Rising Sun."

Ask Amanda, where Palmer answered a handful of questions collected from audience members earlier in the evening offered a brief musical intermission. This is also when she was forced to confess her "Sandman" sin, her love of Astronauts and Diablo Cody:

Question: Are your astronaut references in songs related or just a coincidence?
Amanda Palmer: Nothing is coincidence. I like astronauts, probably because I know I'll never be one. So few things in life are so concrete.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I don't have a favorite. I know, I'm kind of lame. I'm a bad Neil Gaiman fan. I never read "Sandman." (Note: Amanda then said that if she had to pick something, Diablo Cody's "Candy Girl" was a new favorite).

Q: What did you think of Edinburgh (Palmer just played The Edge Festival)?
A: Edinburgh was f—king awesome but not as awesome as New York!

Palmer also shared the story of how she decided to cover Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" during a 20-day yoga retreat in Hawaii after someone gave her a CD; it was the only song that she listened to repeatedly during her drive across the island.


"With this next song, throw out all notions and just shake your a--," said Palmer before going into encore opener, the Ting Tings "That's Not My Name" then a rendition of Jacques Brel's "Amsterdam" with Franz Nicolai of World/Inferno Friendship Society and Hold Steady on accordian. Artist Molly Crabapple auctioned off a painting, then Palmer got back into place and tapped the opening keys to "Coin-Operated Boy."

Amanda Palmer set list

Missed Me
Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing
Mrs. O
Guitar Hero
Look Mommy, No Hands
Pirate Jenny
Mandy Goes to Med School
The House of the Rising Sun
Oasis (w/ brief rendition of Twist and Shout)
Leeds United

That's Not My Name
Coin-Operated Boy