The Dresden Dolls gig

…was, in all honesty, one of the most incredible things I think I’ll ever experience, and quite unlike any ordinary gig.

For a start, not many bands have supporting acts like this:


…or this:


…or this:


Yes, that one was disturbing. But not as disturbing as the guy in a gas mask who serenaded her, which was like The Empty Child but without Christopher Eccleston’s reassuring grin.

Most incredibly of all, this:


They sure as hell know how to put on a show. Essentially, it is what I feel burlesque, at its very very best, ought to be like.

(If you want to read about previous terrible experiences I’ve had with burlesque shows, look no further than Fringe, which is published on 7th July.)

Not just that, but no less than two supporting bands, plus a drumming group they’d picked up in Edinburgh (apparently) which Phil Stott would have hated.

(If you want to read about my personal views on drumming ensembles, look no further than Fringe, which is published on 7th July.)

The first supporting band wasn’t anything special, but they were named “Conscious Pilate” which I thought was pretty inspired. Bizarrely, the lead singer and guitarist looked like the Mitchell Brothers, and the guy twiddling knobs to make weird electronic sounds looked like a slightly more sulky version of David Mitchell – as if they’d got together and said “hey, we all look like famous Mitchells, why don’t we form a band? And call it Conscious Pilate?”

The second supporting band was considerably more interesting, the unusual and rather wonderful Devotchka. You’ve got to love a band with a tuba player.

There was a wonderful coup de theatre when the Dresdens themselves emerged to perform with Devotchka, and there they were in the wonderful wonderful flesh being absolutely bloody brilliant.

I won’t post any blobby mobile phone pictures here, as there are beautifully focussed professional photos of them on their website. In any case, I didn’t want to be thinking about getting my blobby mobile phone pictures less blobby when I wanted to be fully enjoying such a fantastic show. Though the way some people were carrying on, you’d think the only way they knew how to watch a concert was through a grainy digital screen.

And it has to be noted, there were a lot of twats in the audience. Including the tall guy with long hair who ought to know not to stand in the middle of an audience because he is always going to stop at least three people from seeing anything. Also he should know that long hair looks crap on him, especially from behind, and I know this because I spent much of the gig watching it.

But these are minor gripes. How a single singer with keyboard and drummer with drum kit can make such a broad, noisy, even orchestral sound, I have no idea, but they did. They were also hypnotic to watch (when the tall guy wasn’t in the way), particularly Brian who is no mere drummer but an insane drumming mime stroke comedy act.

And because there were so many acts, performing all around the space, the whole four hours was so slick that there wasn’t time to pause for breath. Or go to the toilet. As I said, they sure as hell know how to put on a show.

If you haven’t bought their new album (Yes, Virginia), do so. I’d say it pales in comparison to their live performance, except there’s nothing pale about this album – but it’s worth remembering that it’s not the result of a slick, engineered, studio sound – what you hear is what they do on stage. Just the two of them.

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