Let me start by saying I LOVE Amanda. I’m not much of a groupie of anything, but for Amanda I go ga-ga.
I was first introduced to the Dolls by a friend from my RHPS cast (shocker huh?) back in 2004. We went on a private road trip up north together, those were hard times for both of us and we needed a short get-away. I did the driving and she was in charge of the music. I did the driving all right, but she forgot about the music… the only cd (we used cd’s back then) she had in her backpack was the first dolls album that she burned (sorry AFP…) for her boyfriend. As soon as she put the thing in the car stereo I knew I would not mind listening to it for the next day and a half. It was awesome. By the end of the road trip we were screaming our lung out with the speakers playing full blast, that must have been the most fun we ever had together.
Ever since I’ve been closely following her career through her blog and later also through twitter. I adore her mentality and her ideology. The way she not only adapted to the changing face of the music biz, but actually, one could argue, led some of that change. In any case, she was and still is WAY ahead of the major labels CEOs in understanding where the ship is sailing, not just for indie music, but for the whole shebang.
And now she’s here. Finally. In Israel. WIN. I was trying relentlessly to get her here since 2010. She was then touring with the oh-so-awesome Jason Webley as the theateric musical act Evelyn Evelyn, and I thought their attitude would work perfectly with inDnegev Music and Arts Festival (in English) and tried to book them. Alas, I was too late and their European tour was already tightly set and booked full. Since then I’ve tried to court the queen of cabaret every year, unsuccessfully. The official reply was always that unfortunately, they can’t fit Israel into Amanda’s schedule. I was beginning to feel that there’s more to their refusal than meets the eye, which was strange to me since she was never one to hide her opinions from her fans and the world.
That’s why I’m so happy she finally came.
Really, I’m just glad that someone, somehow, managed to get her here. It’s great to see her here and the ninja gig last night is a living proof that she always had a large fan base she could rely on.
So, the ninja gig. Yesterday I was part of… 100? 200? 300? people that showed up to her ninja gig in Tel Aviv. It was a night to remember. Totally worth the trip from Jerusalem. I started out wanting to write something about this gig, I mean, it was so intense, for me at least, and so unusual from what you’d get from most artists that I must pass it forward, rely my enthusiasm to the world!
I could start with a dry description of the venue (Bar Kayma), or her performance (weak at first, probably due to the long day she had and the intense heat caused by cramping 150 people in a small space, and ASS FUCKING KICKING as she set on her throne in the middle of Rothschild Blvd- see pic) but I’d much rather talk about her. Her persona, her attitude towards fans. She is out there. Not because she’s small time, because that’s how she is. She loves her fans, not the admiration they have for her, she really loves them. She talks to them, treating the youngest teenage groupie and the oldest producer with the same respect – as intellectual, educated (formally or a-formally) music and art lovers. We, her fans, are all the same, and like her we live for the art. To create, to adore, to consume, to replicate – these are all the same aspects of this “industry” humans have been engaged with since the dawn of time. So, that’s that. No more bullshit. Now, for some criticism.
One thing that I am a bit cross about is the Tel Aviv only ninja gig. It was a nice gesture, since her Barby concert was sold out, but due to the small venue and late notice (the show was later moved, oh so ironically, to Rothschild Blvd, the location of the 2011 eco-social uprising) mostly Tel-Avivians and die hard ticket holding fans managed to enjoy it. I really feel that a second gig in Haifa and/or Beer Sheva, or even Jerusalem was in order. The objective of these ninja gigs, as I understand it, is to allow for people unexposed to her music and fans that were unable to get a ticket to enjoy Amandas’ art. Playing Haifa would have probably not resulted in a 150 people parade down Alenbi st. but the ninja factor of such a gig is higher than in the culturally privileged Tel-Aviv bubble.
Another issue is the high cost of the gig, between $43 for early birds up to $51 general admission. I don’t know how much of it all ended up in Amandas’ pockets, I’m sure a reasonable sum, and that’s also cool, but why charge so much?
Flight is supposed to be covered by the kickstarter, technically also lodging and expenses (did she couchsurf?), there was very little PR for the show (just try googling the various Israeli news sites in the past 6 months of her gig for reference), the Barby and the Israeli productionS (why were there two booking agencies involved??) work together on almost every indie gig that comes to Israel, so there was probably very little work on that end… I don’t know… am I missing something?
The people involved are not greedy. Hell, they rarely make a profit from those unknown bands they bring here, that’s why, when a gig is already half paid, I’d want to see them helping the crowd that invests in them most of the year by reducing the ticket prices.
Or, maybe, has production costs in Israel became so fucking outrageous?
Now, I don’t mean to pass judgment, I’m honestly wondering about the choice for the ninja gig and the cost of the tickets. Maybe Amanda, a notorious web-dweller, will find this post and would shed some light on these subjects.
The thing about her visit that really made me realize what an awesome human she is was her approach to the BDS and the radical left movements. Usually those rad-lefty idiots react fast, get to artist with their very aggressive point of view and attitude (lets not get into the argument of whether what they are saying is truth or lie or whether the tactic they choose is the right one) and scare/persuade artists away from coming to Israel.
seeing folks battle politics with each other in my timeline without my involvement, i feel like a cat watching string. *left* *right* *left*
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) October 21, 2013
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAmanda chose, as always, to see and decide for herself. I don’t assume to know exactly what she saw, her thoughts about “the crises in the middle east” or even if she’ll ever share those with her fans online (probably in a later blog post, she tends not to hold back), but I do know she was very responsible with her reports so far. Plain, simple observations, not passing judgment prior to processing the experience, not joining in on those ENDLESS and usually POINTLESS twitter/FB/blog discussions. Whatever conclusion she arrives to I’m sure it will be the result of careful processing and not the result of a trendish ideology. I want to stress that, when it comes to Israelis, I’m at the far left of the political spectrum. I just don’t like radicals and most of all hate ignorance, so when I say trendish ideology I talk about my own, but as adopted by un-educated western radicals looking for fight.
So, for this first part of my post on AFP visit to IL, I’ll conclude by again stating the AFP is an AMAZING person. Seeing her yesterday made me realize that even more. I’m sure that the concert tonight will be as unique as the ninja gig. AFP has this gift – she can take any crowd, any venue, and turn it into an art piece. Every show is a little different, every show is special in its own way and every show is crazy as fuck.
What I would not give for a calm talk with her over warm a cup of tea, or a radical time backstage with a pint of beer. Either would be awesome. FYI, AFP.