Emilie Autumn is an interesting entertainer who we heard about when the whole writer/photographer thing began to take some shape. She finally performed her brand of Gothic Victorian stuff at a sold out affair at a rented venue and we made sure to be there to deliver the story. To see more simply click on the logo below to see my comments and the photos from Peter Parrella on the main PiercingMetal.com site.
Artist: Emilie Autumn
Venue: The Madison (New York, NY)
Label: Adrenaline Records
Tonight’s show would be one of those last minute surprise events for me as it was not something I had on my calendar to attend or even knew about for that matter but when I found out that it would be Emilie Autumn’s only US regional appearance for the time being I knew that I had to make my way inside and bring some information about it to you all. For those who have never heard of the Lass before, let me describe Emilie just a little bit as a little bit Gothic, a little bit Victorian era Vamp and an absolutely amazing violinist and visual artist all rolled up into one fascinating entertainer. She would be embarking on what was referred to as her “Asylum” tour and bring along her “band” – The Bloody Crumpets, who would add many different levels of entertainment to the night’s proceedings. This gig was actually being sponsored by a production company called Audiolust who were working in tandem with the folks over at VampireFreaks.com and together they would rent out the venue for the night thereby providing a space for Emilie and her Crumpets to entertain the assembled Gothic Lads and Lolita’s.
The flyers and announcements stressed that the event doors would open at 8pm and having been to many shows I figured this meant an 8:30pm or so start given the lack of an opener but sadly the doors would not even allow the already massive line in until well after 9pm as Emilie was still working out the logistics of the stage with her sound check and was still involved in that when I had arrived to scope the place out. It was then explained that she would go on around 10pm and I knew from this that we were in for a very long night since Emilie had vowed to perform for more than two hours. They let the masses in at about 9ish and everyone was decked out in gothic corsets and skirts with stockings and gloves and most of the girls had super done up hair or masks and pretty much anything that you could imagine that would successfully morph the young ladies into little Victorian Goths themselves. There were a number of males in attendance at the show but this was clearly a primarily girl audience and just a little bit younger than most of the Gothic Metal shows that I have attended in the past. The performers came onstage after what appeared to be a little too long in running intro tape of 1920’s era songs and while this was definitely something that worked well within the confines of Emilie’s performance I felt that she could have shortened this up just a bit to not make it something arduous and instead more of something that helped build the anticipation.
The interesting affair was in full sway as The Crumpets took to the stage and did a rather burlesque oriented seductive intro and soon Emilie herself was among them but remained hidden in visage because she was sporting a mask that looked like something out of Carnival during Mardi gras. She remained masked for most of the first couple of songs but the crowd didn’t mind at all for she was finally in New York and right in front of them to be absorbed and enjoyed. The fact that the show began on the late side no longer seemed to matter in the eyes of these ardent admirers. “4 O’Clock” was one of the first tunes that I recognized and I rather like this one as well as the title track from her album “Opheliac”. Visually this was proving to be very interesting but it was almost immediately that everyone realized how the only instruments present tonight would be Emilie’s harpsichord and her violin and no real band in the conventional sense was present. The players instead performed to pre-recorded musical tracks and while they worked for the show and scenario of this Asylum, I have to admit that it took just a little bit away from the experience for me.
Veronica Varlow aka “The Naughty Veronica” is one of the Crumpets, and she reminded me a lot of the beautiful Betty Page in both appearance and seductive mannerisms (never a bad thing of course and I just had to bring this to the readers attention). She steps to the fore during the third tune and kisses the audience and generally does her best to incite a little extra passion with her antics and of course all of this was working rather well. I have to say that if I was up close like the diehards that I would be responding to her words on command as well because she spoke to us all with such direction and yet a sense of real admiration. The other members of The Bloody Crumpets were as follows with Aprella, Little Lucina, The Pirate Captain Miss Maggots, The Blessed Contessa, and Mistress Apnea. That’s a lot of people on one stage and each of them was doing their own thing that at many points in the show managed to tie together. As an observer, I found my attention also being drawn to Aprella who is a stunner as well. I have seen her face around at shows quite a bit and online for her modeling shoots. Believe me, she is even prettier in person so her being a part of tonight’s fun was an added surprise. Periodically Emilie and the girls would pour “tea” on the crowd and again with me not being close I couldn’t determine if this was actually tea or not and of course I doubt that it was anything close to tea. I am sure this was a concern to the parents of the younger members in the audience who were standing in the back area of the venue shaking their heads in lack of understanding about the whole presentation. That’s to be expected because I remember my own folks not getting some of the music that I enjoyed growing up, so I was rather amused at witnessing this from the sidelines. Another of the great tunes performed was the crunching and flowing “Dead Is the New Alive’, and I think this is one of the best songs that Emilie has in her repertoire. Why this track is not on some form of radio (either terrestrial or satellite) is a further testament to why each of these mediums is not as valuable as folks might think they are. The room tonight was completely jam packed with a hard core audience who each paid $30 dollars a head to get in. I guesstimated about 500-600 attendees over all and that is not bad for a show that was primarily announced via MySpace notes and VampireFreaks.com and the singers own site forums. Clearly the Internet guides the way shows of this kind are attended and what music is the most relevant to a particular demographic.
Emilie engaged the audience time and time again during the show and while some of her monologues to them seemed a bit long, she did manage to keep their attention. One such instance was where she picked out a young lady from the crowd so she could get her first kiss from another girl, and while many thought this was a plant, I saw this very same girl outside on the line waiting to get in. So yes, this was not staged activity and probably not what those assembled parents enjoyed seeing and yet the girl herself did seem to like the attention she was getting and who could blame her. The other instance was where Emilie spoke of her sidekick “Suffer’, the teddy bear being stolen during a show and how she wanted the crowd to instill righteous vengeance upon anyone who they see messing with her stuff. In the end she announced that the bear had been returned safely and was among us, she then brought him out to a resounding cheer. I enjoyed the tale, but felt she ran a little long in reaching the happy conclusion. I have to say that if someone in a crowd ever feels the need to steal from the artists arranged props that they should be ashamed of themselves. Either way, her bear Suffer was back among her team and all seemed right in the world of Emilie Autumn as she continued along with her performance. She spoke to the audience about her playing violin since she was about five and I was excited for this part because she is really good on the instrument and it was here that she did a frenzied solo on it. It was a very Metal type of solo with lots of effects and involved technique. In the future I would enjoy seeing her introduce a little more of this kind of playing in her music. Part of Emilie’s show this evening would feature some covers which were not your conventional or expected ones in any sense of the word. The song that I thought was called “I Know Where You Sleep” is apparently called “Asleep” and is by The Smiths. I had not known that since I never followed the band ever but what really blew me away was the company’s take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Every player was in perfect harmony and did the legendary track justice and as the heavier portion towards the end came into play the entire room was head banging.
The night was drawing to a close as one of the girls sang the theme for “SpongeBob Squarepants”, and during this one the entire crowd was singing along. They followed this with the very appropriate “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” from the Cindy Lauper catalog and it was with this track that I felt we were done because it made sense to close out the antics and asylum insanity with such a song. It was also well past midnight now and you could see some of those aforementioned parents looking at their watches and trying to get a lock on where their particular kid was in the mix of the crowd. Emilie came back out to do “Thank God I’m Pretty” and this is a pretty decent track and it all winded down with the “Spamalot” staple “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Whew, what a night was all that I could say at this point.
If I had to come out with any critiques the first would be that the gig was a little too late for the audience demographic that Emilie largely seems to attract. The following is hard core without question but one didn’t have to look at them too hard to know that they keep an earlier schedule from the older fans. Had she done this earlier more of them could have stuck around for the signing and meet and greet she did as opposed to running out to meet parents who were glaring at them and their watches. Personally I felt this was a very interesting event, but I would have liked that it be cut perhaps a half an hour as this show was really rather long and sometimes came off as losing its focus. Emilie really is a talent who manages to blend style and mystique into her music and while a long show is often loaded with treats, there are times when that little bit extra is sometimes too much. This show was set up well in terms of presentation and delivery and I think that it would work wonders at a venue like The Highline Ballroom or maybe even The Fillmore NY (that we all commonly refer to as Irving Plaza). I would also love to see a similar styled opening band working with them, so perhaps Unexpect or Stolen Babies can be called upon.
The Audiolust Production team and the VampireFreaks.com folks all made mention to me that other shows would be coming under their mutual command and I am sure that I will make my way into more of them for the purpose of bringing you the scoop. We wish them the best in their endeavors and are positive that other cool surprises await the fans. The VampireFreaks store looks cool so if you are in the vicinity of its location please make sure that you drop in and pick up something shocking.
2. Best Safety Lies In Fear
3. 4 O’Clock
7. Introduction To The Crumpets
10. God Help Me
12. Dead Is The New Alive
13. I Know Where You Sleep (crowd)
15. Violin Solo
16. Face The Wall
17. Bohemian Rhapsody – encore
18. Spongebob Squarepants Theme Song
19. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
20. Thank God I’m Pretty
21. Always Look on the Bright Side Of Life
Here’s a couple of other shots from the show in terms of some of the interesting things that were being presented to the Emilie Autumn fans and good little (oops), I mean bad little Goths everywhere.
Some cool Emilie posters and t-shirts which depicted the singer, her beloved rats and the Asylum in which they all wander. The poster would be cool for Emilie and her group to sign which they would do at the after show meet and greet.
In addition to Emilie and The Bloody Crumpets wares, we found some artwork by the Scab Poet hanging up. It was not only on display but also available for purchase and it looked like some interesting stuff. It was a little on the somber side which made perfect sense for the theme of the night so check her out if you have interest in this kind of stuff.
The fanged folks of VampireFreaks.com had a table set up and this is one of their posters. They had some eerily quirky stuff for sale at their table and apparently they were opening up their official store within the coming week. Congratulations on this, we hope you do well. Take a look at this small sampling of their wares.
They had a bunch of cool buttons and stickers that people could take for free. Yes, we did take a couple for ourselves as well since they were cool looking and a must for any button fan to add to their jackets, bags, etc.
We caught sight of the founder of VampireFreaks.com in the venue, so here is a shot of Jet and the Scab Poet.
Another thing we found catching our attention were the wigs of Sweet Madness Designs. A little research gave us the scoop on this stuff and their designer manufactures synthetic wigs and dreadlock extentions. If that’s your thing then you might want to look a little more into how to get something from her and you can do it via the link HERE