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BY: Aimsel L. Ponti

Space Gallery / Portland, ME - 02/06/05

While many people were glued to their televisions for yet another fantastic Patriots Super Bowl victory, there was another group of people down at The Space Gallery for quite the show from The Dresden Dolls.

I use the word show but perhaps "experience" would better get the point across. From the moment I walked in and surrendered my ticket, it was like entering another world.

Although they are from Boston, Dresden Dolls refer to their shows as "Brechtian punk cabaret," and it felt like we were somewhere in Europe in the '30s at an avant-garde theater. But at the same time it felt like being at a mid- to late '80s Cure show.

Upon arrival, local band The Funeral were playing and they are definitely now on my watch list as they provided a perfect soundtrack to the carnival activities going on around the room.

Russian-born Regina Spektor played for nearly an hour and brought the crowd to a fever pitch. Playing most songs at the piano, she drew from tracks off of her "Soviet Kitsch" record as well as some newer ones. She ended with "Summer in the City," singing to a crowd who had fallen quite in love with her.

Dresden Dolls, the duo of Amanda Palmer on piano and Brian Viglione on drums started their set a few minutes past 10. Their first song was "Good Day" and it, like many of their songs has what could be considered gloomy lyrics. However, Palmer attacks the songs with such a firestorm of wailing vocals that I was left with a jaw-dropped sense of admiration.

Next was "Missed Me," which was perhaps a bit too loud on the old eardrums, but was very theatrical and spellbinding. The Dolls got many clapping along to the excellent b-side track "Night of the Roses" and then Palmer left the piano, stood at the edge of the crowd and delivered a killer cover of PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me."On this one, Viglione played an electric guitar and provided falsetto backup vocals.

At times the sound was too loud, but I absolutely loved every moment. Earlier in the day Dresden Dolls played for a packed house at the Bullmoose store in Scarborough.