Palmer has become almost as famous for crowdsourcing her tour musicians, giving TED talks, conquering social media and marrying writer Neil Gaiman as for her wildly original songwriting and performances.
I don't know what to call Palmer's music. Her Wikipedia page lists "punk cabaret" as a genre, and that seemed close enough when I saw her most recent tour in Boston, backed by The Grand Theft Orchestra. For this show she was supported only by a stool which propped up the leg upon which she braced an aggressively strummed ukelele.
Palmer stopped her first song, "In My Mind", a few times, to admire the children running around on the grass (and up on stage with her), to fix the monitor mix, to admit she was hungover, and to borrow a pair of "lovely soft fuzzy fingerless gloves" from a member of the audience. She played some requests including "Oasis", and did several covers, including Billy Bragg's "1649" and an NWA song to the chords of her own "The Truth". Made me wonder if Dr. Dre has ever sampled a ukelele.
|Leading sing-along version of "Creep".|
I don't think it was punk cabaret. I won't try to classify it. But it was the kind of direct connection with an audience that's truly rare. Art without artifice. You may not know it, but you really wish you were there.