The Tiger Lillies – Edgar Allan Poe’s Haunted Palace

I love music, but I have never been that over the top about any particular band or artist. I never felt the need to wait back stage to get a glimpse, nor have I ever thrown my knickers on stage, or fainted because a band member may have just glimpsed in my direction. I have never planned my life around concerts for a specific group… but I have followed The Tiger Lillies for nearly 20 years now. I first saw them perform “Shock Headed Peter” and from that performance I was hooked. I will admit that I hang around and get merch signed by them and I am unabashedly a bit of a groupie for these guys.

Now, they are not your run of the mill boy band I will tell you that. They are a twisted and dark set of performance artists. Martin Jaques plays the accordion, ukulele, piano, guitar (not all at the same time) and vocals , Adrian Stout on double bass, jaw harp, musical saw, theremin and backing vocals, Jonas Golland on drums, percussion and backing vocals. The band blends the musical styles of pre-war Berlin macabre with a punk edge, creating a truly mesmerising and unique sound.

The band have presented some truly amazing shows and “Haunted Palace” is just another of their visual and sound extravaganzas.

I had the great pleasure of seeing this last week in The Queens Hall, and the stage had been set with piano to the right of the stage, Adrian and his many instruments to the left and Jonas up stage right with his drum kit.

In the centre of the stage, a bordered, multi platform area, with projections initially making it look like a stage, but these projections changed throughout the performance, sometimes a raging sea, sometime blossoming flowers, sometimes flying ravens… you get the idea hopefully.

Martin acts as the narrator, and is presented as the raven. He has a female side kick who wheels out the disembodied head of Poe. From here you are thrown in to a nightmarish sinister world of Poe, his madness, his relationships and his ultimate demise. There is a dancer who acts as Poe throughout the performance, writhing around the stage in an embodiment of the torment of the poets own turbulent life.

The songs are haunting and draw in elements of Poe’s life, combined with traces of stories that he had written, the raven acting as his “pimp” for “special ink”

The story line and songs keep elements of Poe’s own sardonic humour while incorporating the unique stylings of The Tiger Lillies that they fans adore.

The show is filled with their usual raw and passionate style and the spectacular visuals echo the their truly amazing performance.

The piece is a great collaboration between Paul Golub, Peter Bjurman, Martin Jaques and Mark Holthusen.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like the guys are back in the UK for the rest of this year, but if you get a chance to see them perform, it is a must as it is an experience which is not soon forgotten.

If you want to see where the next performances are, you can find them here

Have you seen The Tiger Lillies? Why not tell me about your experience in the comments? Like this post? Why not share it?


8 thoughts on “The Tiger Lillies – Edgar Allan Poe’s Haunted Palace

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  1. Sounds fascinating. I’ve thought about Poe over the years. In trying to become a writer, I’ve wondered how any professional writer overcomes their own internal emotional dialog and writes a joyous, boisterous scene while feeling the world’s noose around their neck? Or depicts the death of a loved one while having just purchased a puppy?

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    1. I think that being a writer is very much like being an actor. You can’t turn up on set for a day of shooting a love scene and harp on that your partner kept you up all night with his snoring. There is a certain way of sectioning off your emotions and immersing yourself in the emotions of what you are doing. Lucky for Poe, he wrote deeply dark pieces with a sardonic humour, so probably suited his horribly turbulent and twisted life.

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      1. I imagine that must be the way of it. Hard to write a happy scene though, when one’s life is constant struggle. Of course, the opposite must be true — writing sadness while you’re jubilant — however I’ve never been given the opportunity.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve read this article and I don’t necessarily think it’s wholly correct. It didn’t need feminism or post colonialism to point out that characters were being misrepresented… the way a writer can truly get a depth to a character is by living a full life and experiencing as much as they can. A lot of writers that this person talks about were not allowed the luxury of travel, or exposure to other cultures or experiences… you know what they say… write what you know… and that’s what they did. It’s so easy to judge when sat in a pedestal… but the author of that article could be doing exactly the same thing through not reviewing circumstance or era…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The author probably pushed their argument wholly to one side to make a point. The gender dichotomy take was lame, I agree.
        Empathy, commiseration, emotions in general, are shared among all vertebrates (probably). So knowing much of the mind of another (even alien) is probable. Anthropocentrism, however, can’t be helped. One might even call the expanded version “Earthism”, thinking we know an aliens mind simply because we (animals) have minds (and emotions) of our own.
        Still, we may never — know — the mind of a dog, a bat, or a eagle. We might guess, but know?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m not sure that animals think in the same thought patterns as us to be honest. They are programmed for survival where as we have a consciousness about ourselves… ok apes have some of that… we associate some human attributes to animals such as grief or wanting to protect but still they don’t have the same emotional bearings as humans… anyway… he only way someone can write well is to write from their experience… a writer will never be able to keep everyone happy each individual has their own experience which is personal to them. This said, they can take a good old bash at conveying something and most of the readers will associate to it through content. So if I write “today I am bluer than a smurf” most people will know that the colour blue is associated with sadness and Smurf’s were a childhood cartoon so maybe I am mooning over something past related… they may have never watched the smurfs but the reference is pretty well know… I don’t think we can beat authors up for trying their best

        Liked by 1 person

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