Amanda Palmer, Village Underground, London
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Royal Albert Hall, London

Amanda Palmer's fans, who funded her album, are rewarded with an unforgettable show

You're more likely to read about Amanda Palmer in the pages of The Economist than in the NME, a fact which highlights just one reason why Palmer is one of the most extraordinary artists in the world of independent music.

The Bostonian singer – one half, with drummer Brian Viglione, of The Dresden Dolls – recently made headlines outside the music press by pursuing an alternate business model with enormous success. The practice of "crowdfunding" is nothing new, but Palmer has taken the principle to new heights.

Always close to her audience, Palmer used her Kickstarter page to raise a staggering $1.2m to cover the costs of her forthcoming album Theatre Is Evil, for which she thanked them by baring her breasts in a photo. If only they'd known, they could have seen them in the flesh for free.

One reason for the devotion of her following is her ability to unlock the creativity in others, whether in music or other disciplines: take, for example, the thriving Fan Art section of her website. That creativity is on show at Village Underground, a bare-brick warehouse-cum-art house in Shoreditch. Amanda has decorated the space with paintings of, or inspired by herself, courtesy of artists as diverse as Robyn Hitchcock, DJ Spooky and Palmer's own husband, the comics writer Neil Gaiman.

The room falls dark, a fire door swings open and, in a Lone Ranger mask and cream silk ballgown, Palmer enters, led by a bagpiper (her cousin Hugh), clutching a bizarre array of instruments and props and bidding us to sit cross-legged around her.

For the first song of a show which is unamplified, she keeps time by rhythmically whetting a kitchen knife. For the second, "Trout Heart Replica", she neurotically whittles a root vegetable on a chopping board. Never has a beetroot been sliced with such quiet tragedy: it's like the Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch directed by Ingmar Bergman.

That song's animals-as-metaphors-for-trapped-humans theme continues with Nirvana's budgerigar-based "Polly", one of a number of covers: we also get Radiohead's "Idioteque" and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side", during which she teases our British reserve by deconstructing "the way the Germans know all the words and Londoners don't".

Using white sheets and a pillow, she acts out "The Bed Song", with the astonishingly bleak couplet "You take the heart failure, I'll take the cancer". It's a mistressclass in the power of DIY and imagination. Gaiman himself pops up for a charming recital of country legend Leon Payne's "Psycho", a serial killer's confession which is what "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be like if it was written by Tom Lehrer.

Palmer ends with the "Ukulele Anthem", which advances the argument that the humble "piece of wood and plastic" could end youth crime. Suddenly, she takes off all her clothes and, standing naked, invites the crowd to scribble all over her, a clever reversal of the usual autograph scenario.

It's an unrepeatable, inspiring show which proves that great art doesn't take stacks of cash, just ideas and fearlessness. But, as Amanda Palmer will find, the money doesn't hurt either.

Tom Petty, a man who's parted his hair straight down the middle for 35 years, has always hung back a safe distance from the avant garde: far enough, of course, to slot seamlessly in among the ancients of The Traveling Wilburys (whose "Handle with Care" gets an outing tonight). It's hard, therefore, to believe it now, but for a long while – as far as 1979's Damn the Torpedoes, in fact – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were broadly considered to be part of punk.

After a solo career of sorts, Petty is once again backed by most of the surviving members of the Heartbreakers. More exciting for the layman, however, is the sudden appearance of Steve Winwood, who delivers two of his classics: The Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'" and Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home".

It's the more familiar hits, though, that get the big responses: "I Won't Back Down", "Don't Come Around Here No More", and above all "Free Fallin'", which gets a mass singalong on the verses, not just the chorus.

They encore with "American Girl", best known to Brits for its use in Silence of the Lambs. Republican Michele Bachmann tried to use it to launch her presidential bid, until the singer demanded that she stop. Tom Petty is no one's idea of a radical, but he ain't no conservative either.

Critic's Choice

The unbranded, unsponsored Hop Farm Festival brings headliners Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and Suede, and a supporting cast that includes British Sea Power, Dr John and Bruce Forsyth – yes, really – to Paddock Wood, Kent (Fri-Sun). Meanwhile, Ronnie Wood and Friends play Hammersmith Apollo, London (Sat). And Ronnie Wood has some very impressive friends.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
TVDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

Arts and Entertainment
Laugh a minute: Steph Parker with Nigel Farage

Arts and Entertainment
Comic Ivor Dembina has staged his ‘Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve Show’ for the past 20 years; the JNF UK charity is linked to the Jewish National Fund, set up to fund Jewish people buying land in Palestinian territories

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?