A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.

amanda.jpgIt was the kind of show that I would have had no idea it was happening unless I was there. There are some shows you look forward to for months and months and there are most that come and go without ever knowing they exist. This would have easily fallen into the second category. With a plus-1 offered from a friend and no real reason why not, I decided to tag along on Friday night for an early evening of champagne and French fries at Joe's Pub. I thought the music would have been mostly an afterthought. I enjoyed the Dresden Dolls when they opened for Nine Inch Nails at Hammerstein Ballroom last summer, but don't think I could name two of their songs off the top of my head. Nonetheless, any excuse to go see someone play Joe's is good enough one. I sat down on the cushioned riser and marveled at the funny mix of dolled-up Goth kids and the club's usual looking clientele, complete in their own uniform of a tucked in button-down and blackberry on the hip. So the lights came down and Amanda came out, dressed appropriately in what was something of a hybrid of the two aforementioned styles. But as soon as the first note came out of her grand piano, I instantly dropped all diversionary thought of the surroundings and fell under the spell of her dominating presence.

It almost felt surreal. She was coming up with brilliantly penned song after brilliantly penned song, singing them with such emotion, I could vividly visualize the scenes she described in my head as the words came out. Tales of teenage angst and being misunderstood told with such sincerity and earnestness that even a relatively straight and narrow Greenwich Village product like myself could feel what she was saying. She stated right off the bat that she was mostly going to play new songs and covers, which was fine by me since I was hearing it all for practically the first time anyway. The new ones were as polished and perfect as the old, and the covers she choose fit perfectly in with the rest of the set. Included were renditions of Antony, Nine Inch Nails and Regina Spektor songs, as well as a haunting version of Madonna's "Material Girl". In perhaps what may be the most spine tingling moment of the year, during Antony's "Hope There's Someone," eye-makeup stained tears started pouring down her face in dramatic streaks as she pounded at wailed away. I'm still getting chills thinking about it.

It will certainly stand up as one of the most memorable shows of 2006. Every song was hauntingly beautiful and perfectly executed.

Check out some pictures from the show here.