So. You may remember that Amanda Fucking Palmer gave me a ticket (I’m still pretending that it was a personal gift) to the world premiere show of her new project, Evelyn Eveyln. So it only seems fair to repay her kindness by telling you all how AWESOME the show was.
And it was pretty awesome.
(Quick aside: if you don’t know what Evelyn Evelyn is, they are conjoined twins from Kansas who play music. Any resemblance they have to Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley in a big dress is purely coincidental.)
The show was at Club Oberon in Cambridge, Mass, where I had never been. I really like the venue, though, it’s small and seems casual, though that may have just been the crowd. Since I get most of my musical experiences at the House of Blues, I really liked the coziness of Oberon. And a brief word on the crowd: I have never seen such a diverse band of misfits as I have at that show. It was spectacular. There were young people, old people, fathers and daughters, people in corsets and people in jeans. Two girls came dressed as Evelyn and Evelyn. I’ve never felt so completely at home in a crowd.
Jason Webley opened the show, and he is a fanfuckingtastic performer. He got the crowd going immediately (“I need you to pretend I just did something awesome so I can get you to help me with the next song… good! good!”) and by the end of his short set had the entire crowd spinning in circles with their fingers in the air. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I liked his music (I think I did) because he is such a good show. Loved it.
And with the crowd ramped up from spinning and singing, Amanda Palmer made her entrance.
Let’s be honest, Evelyn Evelyn wouldn’t be able to go on tour if Amanda Fucking Palmer weren’t Amanda Fucking Palmer. Someone proposed marriage to her as she sat at her piano. I thought about it (hey, we’re in Massachusetts). She’s an amazing human being and an amazing performer and an amazing performance. I always forget that there are people who don’t know who she is, because she is such an important artist in my sphere.
But sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of Amanda Fucking Palmer being Amanda Fucking Palmer, and I forget how truly stunning her voice is. Watching her sing, especially from like 5 feet away, is entrancing. Perhaps she sold her soul to the devil to get that voice—I really don’t know. But I’d be okay with that explanation. And the woman knows how to work a crowd.
AFP was then joined by Jason and the third performer of the evening, a man named Sxip Shirey. (It will be easier if you pretend it’s spelled “skip.”) They played “Electric Blanket” (accompanied by Sxip on some random bell contraption) and then AFP and Jason disappeared and it was time for Sxip to perform.
Sxip Shirey was the surprise of my evening. I’d never heard of him and had no idea what to expect, but now I’m in love. He’s part circus, part musician, part storyteller, part hair, and all awesome. He’s one of those “makes music with random stuff” guys, and his tools included bells, a train whistle, a police siren, a harmonica (on which he appeared to be beatboxing) and some foot-pedal-thing that did strange and amazing things to his microphone.
This is not the greatest video, but it’s my favorite song that he played:
His new CD went on sale yesterday. BUY IT!
So then after a brief break the twins came on.
The twins are pretty amazing.
It’s really kind of difficult to describe the show. It was part story/play (Sxip was the ringmaster-type, blatantly exploiting the twins), part cabaret, part puppet show. Each twin played one half of an instrument—they each played one hand of a piano, or one hand of the guitar, or ukulele, or accordion. (The accordion may have actually been all Jason the Left Twin, I wasn’t at a great angle.) It’s been years since I’ve played music, but that seems really difficult. The music is the sort of oddball thing you would expect from people who are pretending to be conjoined twins a band discovered by Amanda F. Palmer and Jason Webley. Each song is really a different genre, but it all seems to tie together pretty well. And the show is great. It feels very circus-freaky: “come into my tent and see this great freak of nature!”
There were a lot of little things that made the show even more genius. For instance, the “waiting for the show to start” music consisted of lots of songs about sisters (that Eurythmics song) and being close and being apart—and at least one song that was by Evelyn Evelyn. (I only remember Happy Birthday, but I think there might have been more.) It was brilliant.
Some things didn’t go quite so well, of course, since it was the first time this show had ever been performed. Jason seemed to have some trouble remembering some of the Evelyn Evelyn lyrics, and AFP kept almost cracking up, but as she said during her set, “anything that goes wrong tonight we can just call ‘charming.'” (That is a very rough paraphrase.) The show seemed to end slightly too mellow (this was pointed out by a couple of people in the Q&A session at the end) especially because they’d teased us by playing the opening to “Poker Face.” And there were a few tech issues. But everything was just opening-night kinks, which will probably be fixed over the course of the next few performances.
The entire thing was amazing.
I’m pretty sure the show is sold out, like, everywhere, but I hereby give you permission to find someone with a ticket and murder and/or maim him/her. Sometimes art is worth it.
SHE ANNOUNCED AT THE END
They’re ending their tour HERE in BOSTON in JUNE at my favorite venue the House of Blues! Tickets aren’t on sale yet, but stay tuned. They’ve promised that it will be total extravaganza and that they’ll have perfected the show (possibly making it entirely different) and I am super super excited.
There is my very very long review of the first ever show by Evelyn Evelyn. Thanks again, AFP.