An evening spent with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley is akin to downing a bottle of absinthe, surviving and waking up the next afternoon naked in a park, not quite knowing how you got there, but being sure you really enjoyed yourself. The theatrics were at an all time high, with both artists giving their all to ensure the sold out crowd at The Evelyn had a special experience with a cabaret style performance that made for a very entertaining night.
Evelyn Evelyn is a collaboration between Palmer and Webley, where they dress up as conjoined twin sisters called Evelyn and sing weird and wonderful songs about growing up in the circus and the difficulties of finding a lover when you’re attached to your sister and share two arms and three legs. The music itself is nothing special, but watching two people play one guitar and a keyboard was a spectacle in itself, as was seeing Webley in drag. Their set was all about the melodramatic performance and creating an engaging atmosphere for the audience to be able suspend their belief and escape from reality by jumping into the world inhabited by the ‘twins’. Which is something Evelyn Evelyn did very well. Palmer and Webley have such a lively presence and are born entertainers so it was very easy to fall under their spell, in what was one of the more strange avant garde shows I’ve been to since the Fringe Festival last year. They finished the set with a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, played on a ukulele and left the stage to massive applause.
Kim Boekbinder aka The Impossible Girl was up next and fitted right in with the bizarre events with her fluoro pink hair and sequined t-shirt. Boekbinder is an incredibly talented musician and her set was entrancing as she charmed the audience with her smooth vocals, live loops and the intoxicating nature of her sound. Go Google Kim Boekbinder now and see what you’ve been missing out on. She’s a rare breed of artist that deserves your attention.
A man with an accordion is something I would usually equate with a nightmarish personal fear of having my ears assaulted by bad polka music. Fortunately Jason Webley’s music is nothing of the sort and his live show was barrels of fun as the man mixed it up between the accordion and guitar, playing his original tunes and some interesting interpretations of classic hits. If you’ve ever wondered what “Billie Jean” or “My Sharona” would sound like on the accordion, the answer is ‘oddly amusing’. Webley had the crowd hanging on his every word as he rambled on between songs, with a set that was based around audience interaction with sing-a-longs and plenty of dancing. A corset-clad Amanda Palmer joined Webley onstage for a few duets, another ukulele track and a few carlton draughts as they incited the crowd with Webley’s infamous “Drinking Song”.
All in all it was a grand night of high melodrama, a spellbinding atmosphere and some great performances by some of the most uniquely talented artists to grace the 21st century.