Dresden Dolls – DVD

Live At The Roundhouse: London
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Since joining forces as the Dresden Dolls at the turn of the decade, singer/pianist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione have gained a deeply loyal following with songs like ‘Backstabber‘ and ‘Coin Operated Boy‘; a mix of art-punk and cabaret influences. Small wonder, then, that their fans are a gaudily dressed, oft-costumed bunch, whom can always be relied on to come out to play when the Dolls are in town.

In November 2006, the band played two nights at London’s newly refurbished Camden Roundhouse, where they invited several of their performance artist friends along to create a wonderfully bizarre and entertaining event that highlighted the theatrical background of their music. Unfortunately, the footage of this aspect of the evening is fairly limited; just a handful of interviews with various performers, and a few clips of them in action.

Still, these were ultimately Dresden Dolls show, and the footage of the band’s live set (included in its entirety) is of superb quality. Considering that a pianist and a drummer hardly equate to a traditional rock band set-up, the duo turn in a raucous, vivacious performance; with highlights including an adrenaline-fuelled romp through ‘Modern Moonlight‘ , a stripped-down cover of Tears For Fears’ ‘Mad World‘, and a clutch of performers joining the band for backing vocals on ‘The Jeep Song‘.

As a document of the Dresden Dolls live experience, ‘Live At The Roundhouse‘ does a fine job, but it fails to truly capture the spirit of these two very special nights. This time, you really did have to be there.

Alex Gosman