Amanda Palmer connects with the crowd at fan house parties
To finish off what has been riotous year for Amanda Palmer, she is set to play two house parties in Los Angeles this month before performing at the A TOTAL DISRUPTION Soirée on December 15th at the Echoplex. This constitutes a typical stop for the outspoken, polarizing punk-cabaret musician as she closes out a year of over 75 gigs in every kind of venue imaginable across the US, Europe, and Australia.
There are few artists who have embraced the new media landscape and direct-to-fan relationship with as much passion and engagement as Amanda Palmer. Early on, she saw the new tools offered through technology as an opportunity to return to a time before mass media ushered in the era of hero worship and celebrity culture -- to a time when artists were connectors, built into the fabric of the community, and not untouchable divas shielded behind a wall of spin doctors, music industry suits, and middlemen. In her bravura TED Talk, “The Art of Asking,” which got over 3 million views, Palmer flipped this traditional rock-god narrative of a million adoring and distant fans on its head, “it’s about a few people loving you up close, and those people being enough.”
For the past six months, from Portland to Boston and points in between, I’ve dropped in on Palmer as she’s co-opted living rooms, community centers, bookstores, underpasses, and farmhouses alike, crisscrossing the country to play music and trade stories and hugs for hours on end across America and the globe. Palmer draws hundreds of people to these spots thanks to her easy accessibility and indefatigable diligence via social media channels like Tumblr and Instagram -- on Twitter, she’s gained close to a million followers, and this woman powerhouse has been on the road nonstop all year with a combination of actual concert dates and house parties in large part to fulfill her record-breaking $1.2 million Kickstarter campaign promises.
The house parties have existed as part of Amanda’s repertoire when she began toying with the concept back in 2011:
I kind of did a proto-Kickstarter when I put out my Australian album, and I put it out here via my website. For $25 you got the signed CD, and, I think for $3,000 you got a house party anywhere in Australia. That was just an experiment. I went around Australia touring, and I routed the tour around also doing house parties in Melbourne City, Brisbane, Perth, and I loved it. I loved doing it. It’s very real.