Doors opened 6 and if you arrived in time your will have caught perfomers in the crowd, but sadly I didn’t manage to see alot of it, so can’t write much about it.
Thomas Truax was on the main stage first. Accompanied with a fascinating collection of instruments (all self made excluding the guitar), his songs seemed to be composed on the night with the use of sound sampling that he would record at the start of a track. His drum machine Sister Spinster (that appeared to be constructed out of 2 bike wheels ) was his only on-stage companion.With one song (The Butterfly And The Entomologist) being performed using a hand-held fan and his roaming throught the crowd with his guitar unplugged (seeming to puzzle the sound techs) it was a damn fine performance and a good start to the show.Amanda appeared on stage to thank Thomas for his performance and to introduce the next live act.
Wearing their bright orange coloured combats Katie and Dave, Bang On (who Amanda had seen perform in Edinburgh) hit the stage literally using everyday items from plastic bins to frying pans to delivery a organised frenzy of noise from their self constructed drumming rig. This was a great interlude between bands that got the crowd chanting along with them.
The second band to take the stage was DeVotchKa , the quartet between them had on stage a drumer/trumpet player, Singer/guitarist, Accordian/Violin player and Sousaphone/Double Bass player. Combined this generated a varying style of music from fast-paced/haunting Spanish/Mariachi or Romani/Slavic tradtional styles of music. They perform a rather upbeat verson of Venus in Furs that was different to say the least. The band were accompanied by both Amanda and Brian from The Dresden Dolls for a version of ‘Oh What A World’ by Rufus Wainwright.
As DeVotchKA left, the stage was perpared for the Dolls (just drums and keyboard), the crowd was treated to a display of aerial tissu (performer unknown) which was pretty cool and had the crowd captivated.
With their new album hot off the press and some rave reviews the Dolls finally took the stage in the Astoria. Playing through a fine selection of their best work including Mrs O, Missed Me, Perfect Fit, & Coin-Operated Boy. Thrown in were 2 wonderful covers of T-Rexs Cosmic Dancer and a verson of Black Sabbaths War Pigs (which was unusual with only drums and piano).
After a short break Amanda returned to her piano and performed an outstanding version of Leonard Cohens’ Hallelujah. Brian re-took the stage with his guitar as they performed a cover of Jacques Brels Amsterdam with Amanda swaggering around the stage with a bottle of beer. There are gigs and there are performances, this was definately the latter. The whole event was a wonderful combination of entertainment and music. The bands seem to enjoy the day as much as the members of the crowd.In all the night was a blast and a great time was had by all.
*Thomas Truax picture by Chris Saunders.