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The Dresden Dolls bring their Brechtian cabaret to the Great American Music Hall

Wednesday, Nov 17 2004
As the band name suggests, the Dresden Dolls perform a sort of dressed-up, post-apocalyptic music, devoid of high hopes yet rich in high drama. The Boston duo (vocalist/pianist Amanda Palmer and drummer/guitarist Brian Viglione) calls its act "Brechtian Punk Cabaret," which is fairly near the mark, but the theatrical element seems closer to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (in miniature, of course). Decked out in sexy outfits and porcelain face paint, the handsome musicians play up the dark, disturbing themes of their songs while entertaining with a variously over-the-top or dreamy-pop delivery. One could imagine their performance as a last love letter from the ruins, after all of society's caretakers -- parents, teachers, cops, friends, lovers -- have each betrayed our trust. Thus, the "punk," do-it-yourself ethos, which comes across sweetly in Palmer's longing for a "Coin-Operated Boy," and more desperately on "Bad Habit," where "happiness is just a gash away." Watch the Dresden Dolls play with their pain on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Great American Music Hall; call 885-0750 or go to
-- Sam Prestianni

In the early days of rock 'n' roll (1950s, mid-'60s), "package tours" were common; instead of opener/headliner, there'd be several "star" performers doing whirlwind sets. Brooklyn-based indie label Ropeadope revives this concept, sending its diverse roster out to collectively barnstorm the United States, delivering four-hour sets featuring individual performances and impromptu collaborations. The Ropeadope circus comes to town with a kaleidoscopic variety of performers: jazz-guitar whiz Charlie Hunter (formerly of locals T.J. Kirk); innovative sample/beatmaster DJ Olive , who of late has been creating magic with improvising musicians; Critters Buggin, an instrumental Seattle unit that makes like a caffeinated, jazzier, more drum 'n' bass-charged Tortoise; virtuoso cellist Matt Haimovitz, who's been taking classical music old (J.S. Bach) and contemporary (Lou Harrison) out of concert halls and into rock clubs; Oakland hip hop act the Coup, which offers up def beats as well as melodic and political substance; Sex Mob, which aims to make cutting-edge jazz fun (the band's Sex Mob Does Bond disc is all 007 movie music); and more! It all goes down on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20, at the Independent; call 771-1421 or go to for more info.
-- Mark Keresman


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