No one seemed too concerned that Amanda Palmer performed a rare solo set at the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday night. There were no musings about where her Dresden Dolls partner, drummer Brian Viglione, might be. Perhaps, with the duo preparing to release a CD in April, there's nothing to worry about. As with any close-knit relationship, space is sometimes necessary.
Palmer apologized that her voice was a little shot. It was due, she said, to overdoing it the night before at her sold-out solo show at Joe's Pub in New York. At the sold-out MFA, Palmer also delightfully overdid it.
Alongside Dolls favorites (including a beautifully dark ''672") and new songs (the witty ''Ampersand" told of a late night stroll down Mass. Ave.), the Lexington native included an older, pre-Dolls number, the somber ''Blake Says," and a superb selection of covers.
Her voice delicate and entreating, Palmer successfully tackled Antony and the Johnsons' tender ''Hope There's Someone." A violinist joined in on a slow, torchy, somewhat tongue-in-cheek version of Madonna's ''Material Girl." And with a pianist backing her, Palmer stood to invoke the rich beauty and tragedy of Kurt Weill's ''Nanna's Song."
Did tongues wag at the encore's haunting rendition of Nine Inch Nails' ''Right Where It Belongs," where Palmer backed Boston artist Cormac, and joined him for gorgeous vocal harmonies? No matter. Palmer rejoins Viglione for a tour in March.
Wacky Seattle singer and accordion player Jason Webley performed a three-song set, which included the Scottish folk tune ''My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." For each word beginning with ''B," Webley had the audience alternate between sitting and standing. By the chorus (''bring back, bring back," etc.), they got the joke.
New York quartet Jaggery pounded out bold, experimental pop.