Extract me from my plastic fantasy
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most unique rock bands in years has been the Dresden Dolls, a kitschy goth band with hard-hitting cabaret-punk and a sense of humour about themselves. When I put their self-titled debut on my computer and listened, I knew I was hearing a winner.
And now "Dresden Dolls -- Paradise" shows fans a few other facets of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, and their live performances. It's not only a cool DVD for fans, who will adore these little nuggets of insight, but for anyone who is contemplating becoming a musician.
It opens with a "day in the life," shot with handheld cameras (don't worry, it's not nausea-inducing). We get to see the Dolls do all those ugly little morning things people do: roll out of bed, drop things in the toilet, swear, paint on eyebrows, get shampooed, do yoga, and run around in sweats. And in Amanda's case, go through songwriting agonies and practice singing at the station.
Then tragedy: the Dolls are going to perform an intimate performance at the Paradise in Boston, and Brian's drum kit is AWOL. Enter a hilarious sock-puppet reenactment of a new drum kit being gotten, and the Dolls hanging out in ancitipation of their performance. We also get to hear from the Dolls' pals, neighbors, some of their fans (including little children), and a bunch of kitsch-goth fans congregating in front of the theatre.
I haven't been lucky enough to see the Dolls perform live -- yet -- but you can feel the energy just watching a live DVD. We're taken backstage for the pre-show and an interview where Christopher Lyden asks about "that song," and the Dolls answer a few fans' questions.
Then there's the live show: in eerie blue lighting, it opens with the band playing, and they are in perfect form: ominous piano, sharp drums, and Palmer's deep, staccato singing. And then there are their best-known songs ("Coin Operated Boy" and "Girl Anachronism") played at the Roskilde Festival. And finally there are a pair of gloriously strange music videos for the above songs: "Coin Operated Boy" is a colorful, sly ode to a sweet sex toy, and "Girl Anachronism" is a dark, chaotic, costumey display of madness.
In other words, this is a delight for all Dresden Dolls fans; we get to see the musicians at their best (and worst), and they seem like cool people, nice to their fans and surrounded by some awesome fans. Listening to Amanda joking about herpes, or Brian talking about Mexican fans' passion, it seems like you're hanging out with them.
It seems like it will be a bit dull at first, but then you get drawn into it without meaning to. It's also nice to see musicians who are fine with being seen in less-than-amazing moments, such as Brian's terminal bedhead, or Amanda twisting around in only a sports bra and shorts. You gotta respect them for this warts-and-all display. (And I want, want, want a dress like hers)
And the live performance is as close as you can be to being there, without being there. The Dolls show why they are such a great band, with explosive music and raw, wild songs. We get to see the fans talking about why they love the Dolls -- including one sweet little girl who wants to be a drummer because of Brian -- and dressing up in complimentary costumes. Not only can you feel the energy of the Dolls, but you can feel the cameraderie of those loyal fans.
The Dresden Dolls on a CD are cool enough as it is. But fans hungry for more will adore "Dresden Dolls -- Paradise," with its warts-and-all documentary and electric live performances."
If you can't see them live, then you NEED to see this.
M. Calhoun | Cleveland, OH | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you aren't already familiar with The Dresden Dolls' music - you'll want to catch up some before you read this.
But if you already know & love the music, or if you've heard their albums before but didn't quite get what all the fuss was about, you absolutely need to see this DVD. I've yet to know anyone who has seen them live and didn't get it. Their live show is something every music fan should see once, and if you can't make it to an actual show, this really is the next best thing - and it will only set you back around $10.
Director Michael Pope has managed to do something I didn't think would be possible - he captured all of the energy and passion from The Dresden Dolls' live show in this DVD. The sound for the June 2005 show at Paradise in Boston is near perfect, and the video footage is simply sublime. Creative editing allows us to see both Amanda and Brian for most of the show, something you can't really do even when you're there in person.
The track list for this show is only missing one real gem (Coin Operated Boy - though that is included as a bonus clip) and includes a pair of outstanding cover tunes. The line-up:
War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Pierre (Carole King)
Each track could stand alone as a beautiful video, but altogether it's one amazing show.
The extras are bountiful as well. There are two live tracks from the Roskilde Festival (Coin Operated Boy and Girl Anachronism), and while the sound & video are not nearly as good as the Boston show, it's still quite nice to see. You are given the videos for those same two tracks also, which is a real bonus because it's been a challenge (for me at least) to find them in any form other than Quicktime movies from the web page, and they're such beautiful works of art they deserve to be seen on a bigger screen.
A documentary, titled _A Life in the Day of The Dresden Dolls_ follows Amanda and Brian through the day of the show (along with everyone else who was involved in the show - which is a long list of people, including The Brigade) which gives us an interesting view into the challenges they faced that day.
The pre-show features the performances from The Brigade as well as an interview conducted by none other than THE Christopher Lydon. The banter between Lydon and Amanda is simply priceless.
Simply a must-have for any fan and a should-see for anyone curious about The Dresden Dolls, and I'm betting many of the curious will be transformed into fans after seeing this..."
Can't you just fix it for me?
incubus1 | 08/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as music DVDs go The Dresden Dolls' Paradise has got to be one of the best ones I've ever seen. The energy, sometimes lacking in a lot of music DVDs, is ever apparant and I'll be damned if watching Amanda and Brian feed off of each other isn't a lot of fun to see. I could've done without the song introductions where it completely cuts from the show and the screen is black except for the song title. Takes away from the overall show, but hey, with a show as perfect as this one you gotta expect a drawback or two.
Since this DVD was made to promote The Dresden Dolls' self titled CD, it only makes sense that 7 of the 10 tracks cover that CD. The cover of War Pigs was qute brilliant really. They get the intensity of the original down pat, so much so that Amanda has to restart the song right in the middle because she "can't keep up". Nevertheless, a cover for the ages. Christopher Lydon is about a guy Amanda knows and the camera cuts to his reactions a bit too often. It is a good song though. And then there's Pierre. Brian actually gets included in this song vocally, yet it's Amanda's singing that holds your attention, the lyrics are quite intriguing as well.
Wondering if the songs are performed live as good as they are in the studio? Have no fear, because yes they are. That's really what amazes me about this DVD. As much as I love The Dresden Dolls I was completely ready to be let down by their live show. I figured that Amanda wouldn't be very good live, but it's quite the contrary really. I'd say she sounds better live than in the studio but that's me. And as for the music, gorgeous. Every stroke of the piano, every slam on the drum, everything is spot on. Ultimately, if you like The Dresden Dolls, you'll love this release. Don't hesitate one second to get this because you cannot be the price."
Happiness is just a gash away
Roger Jr. | Pittsburgh | 05/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this dvd is great. i got it for $12 in stores, the price on amazon is great. dresden dolls are an awesome band, and amanda and brian are so great live. the documentry 'a life in the day of the dresden dolls' was pretty good, always cool to see what bands are like off stage. the live show is great, amanda's voice is so powerful and brian's drumming is fantastic! the ONLY problems find with the live show is that 1. its kinda dark, but not too dark you cant see. and 2. they diddnt play coin-operated boy, but they do have the music video and a live version as bonus features, so not that bad. The music videos are great. i really recommend, especially for the very low amazon price."