Jul 02 2010
A couple of weeks ago I had a unique opportunity to attend one of Amanda Palmer's ninja gigs. If you've not heard of them they're rare-ish but growing in notoriety. Basically, she and whomever she's on tour with at the time roll into town and get in touch with a promoter, a theatre, a nightclub, wherever they can to stage a two to four hour rehearsal/mini-concert/bull session with no cover charge. They're often held the night before their full-scale concert though it wouldn't surprise me if there had been an exception or two. Whoever wants to attend can attend and they're spread by word of mouth. AFP posts about them to her Twitter feed whenever she touches down and they usually wind up mentioned in her blog when she has a chance. Fans find out about them and boost the signal, which means that at any given time she has as many people attending these off-the-cuff shows as will be at the 'real' concert later on. At a ninja gig they usually do some new pieces that haven't been recorded yet; sometimes they haven't been performed before. The occasional cover will crop up and off-the-cuff improvisational songs have been spotted in the wild; the ninja gig I was at had Palmer, Sxip Shipley, and Jason Webley had the trio trying to come up with a decent song made up of words shouted from the audience.
After the show everyone hung out in the lobby and took pictures, signed autographs, and generally acted pretty cool. Because I'd just come from work (and arrived an hour late due to a number of misadventures and unnecessary expenditures that I don't feel like going into) I walked in halfway through, shortly before Palmer called her father up on stage to sing a duet (a tradition they follow whenever she's in town). My memory's a bit fuzzy but I think they did Tower of Song by Leonard Cohen to close out the gig. Doubtless someone who remembers more clearly will correct me in the comments.
Here are the pictures I took that night. I didn't include the worst of them in the album because the pinspots on the stage whited most everything out and you really couldn't see much. I fiddled around with color, contrast, and brightness settings on my phone while I was there and that's unfortunately the best I've got. The pics taken after the ninja gig was over are the best in the series, I'm afraid.