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If punk rock had been invented on the piano and German cabaret had made it across the Atlantic, then we would be living in a world where the Dresden Dolls are mainstream. Instead, Amanda Palmer (vocals, keys) and Brian Viglione (drums, guitar) have to settle for the kinds of off-beat fans who, on a chilly night, crowded into House of Blues for one of the band's trademark sets of rock and burlesque.

The Boston duo spanned its ten-year history and included covers ranging from Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" to "Mein Herr" from Cabaret. Viglione's drumming alternated between light raindrop accents and Tommy Gun brutality, while his playful miming was the perfect counterpoint to Palmer's macabre melodies.

The Dresden Dolls have always had a fascination with accidents. Palmer's lyrics are full of awkward characters coming to terms with their not-by-design personalities. So it was only fitting that the show, too, was full of accidents. Technical difficulties became so common that Palmer wrote a song about them halfway through the set. But in true cabaret fashion, the unscripted, whimsical banter was among the highlights of the night. This genre-defying band may just be the greatest accident of all.

  • Concert: Dresden Dolls
  • Venue: House of Blues
  • Date: December 30
  • Seats: Floor
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