Tea and Bloody Crumpets
Holy shit, y’all. If I wasn’t already a fan of Emilie Autumn before last Wednesday night, I certainly would be now. As it is, I think I should probably upgrade myself right now to squeeing fangirl status. That said: this isn’t going to be even slightly objective. It’s a write-up of a show done by a huge fan. Ya dig?
The show? Awesome. The meet-n-greet afterwards? Awesomer.
It’s really great when the venue at which an artist you really dig is playing happens to be only fifteen minutes away from your house. It makes life a little easier, especially when the show is on a Wednesday. What’s up with that? I mean, I know shows can’t only happen on Fridays or Saturdays, but dammit, I’m old. I get tired. I get grumpy when I can’t get a full eight hours of sleep. Harumph, I say.
Doors were supposedly at seven. Lith and I got our kit on at my house and then rolled out to meet Shannon down at Bourbon St (a very misleading name, considering I’m fairly certain there is no Bourbon St in Baltimore, and this particular place is on Guilford Ave, right behind a hospital). But still, only fifteen minutes away from home = win. On the other hand, driving in a corset? Yeah, not the easiest thing in the world. Or the most comfortable. But I managed. And I got to laugh at myself, which is always a good thing.
Doors were not even a little bit at seven. It was much closer to eight. Oh well. We stood around in the autumn chill and the spitting rain shivering and talking and poking fun at the goth kids in line. There were quite a few of them. I was wearing a corset and black pants, and I still looked downright normal. Make of that what you will. There were actually quite a few kids in attendance, which I found highly amusing. There were parents there, standing next to their gothed out kids. I admire those parents their coolness. If I’d tried to get either of my parents to take me to a show at that age—let alone an industrial/goth show—I’d have been laughed at.
The stage was already set up when we were let inside. And the line at the merch table was a mile long. We headed for one of the bars and got drinks, then milled about with everyone else waiting for the show to start. None of us thought to try and get close to the stage at that point, so by the time I wanted to get closer, there was really no way to do so without pissing someone off.
It was worth the wait. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was more than just a concert. The four Bloody Crumpets (Captain Maggot, Naughty Veronica, Aprella and the Blessed Contessa) made their entrance to “Best Safety Lies in Fear” which is a mostly instrumental track. Emilie herself made her entrance singing “4 O’clock”. It was a fabulous start to a fabulous show. And let me reiterate to make myself perfectly clear: this was more than just a concert. These women don’t just stand around singing to the crowd (who all sang back for the most part, myself included). They put on a show. The theatricality and the talent of these women is astounding.
Following the intro came “Opheliac,” to resounding cheers. Emilie ended up playing the majority of her album, but that wasn’t all she did. Maggot left the stage shortly thereafter and reappeared on the balcony. To the left of the stage hung a big hoop, and Maggot deftly climbed over the balcony and dropped into the hoop, where she twirled and flipped for the duration of the song, finally dropping into the crowd at the end. She is crazy and awesome. During “Shalott” (which is definitely based on the Tennyson, in case you were wondering), Emilie took a break to chat with the crowd. Normally I think something like that would bug me—get on with the song!—but it worked well here.
Emilie and the other three girls took a break during Dominant, an instrumental, and Veronica, who is also a burlesque dancer, did a fan dance. To the vast disappointment of everyone, but especially the douche who would not stop screaming the WHOLE NIGHT (and not in a fun way, but in a drunk and douchey way), she didn’t lose any of her clothes.
Oh, speaking of that guy. We all remarked at one point or another during the night how badly we wanted to do grievous bodily harm to him. I can understand being appreciative of an artist—I did my fair share of screaming too. I can even understand being appreciative of the female forms on stage—Emilie and all the crumpets are extremely beautiful and they perform in elaborate corsetry and not a whole lot else, and they look damn good doing it. But this guy was ridiculous. He was the biggest annoyance of the night. He was practically the only annoyance of the night (the other being that my feet were killing me by about halfway through the show). Seriously, folks, please show your appreciation, but don’t be that drunken asshole that inspires anger in your fellow concert-goers.
I loved the interaction with the crowd that Emilie and the girls all worked for. They did a good job of it. Veronica played the Rat Game, in which she announces that she’s never kissed a girl in Baltimore, then pulled a member of the crowd up on stage and kissed her. It’s really cool that all the girls have their own talents. Maggot does her thing with the hoops, and Veronica has her dance. The Blessed Contessa, as it turns out, does some awesome Cirque de Soleil-style thing with a sheet. I wish I knew what it was called, but it involves twisting herself in a sheet and obvious acrobatic skill.
She’s also a fire-eater. During “Dead is the New Alive”, she performed that feat, and then lit up the fire hoop for Maggots to do her thing with. It was stunning. I was floored by the talent these girls possess, and I loved how involved the show was.
The thing about EA? Her voice? Her awesome (in the original sense of the word) voice? That huge voice comes out of this tiny creature. And it’s deliciously unedited. What you hear on her album is what you get, folks. She’s not one of those studio created artists—she really does sing like that. It’s sweet and scary and powerful and amazing. She really does play the harpsichord as well as the violin.
My favorite part of the night, which which I’d been looking forward to for weeks, was when Emilie got out her violin and played for us. I’m pretty sure words can’t even express how amazing she is with her instrument. Not only that, but it was abundantly clear throughout both of her violin pieces that *this* is what she really loves to do—and I’m pretty sure if asked she would consider the violin an extension of herself instead of a mere instrument. She is, first and foremost, an amazingly talented violinist. I was in awe.
Possibly the only disappointment I felt all night was that she didn’t play my favorite song from Opheliac, “Swallow”. It wasn’t really much of a disappointment however, considering the show I witnessed. They closed the show with a fucking awesome cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. Emilie played the guitar parts on her violin. Did I mention that she shreds on that thing?
After the show was over (there was a brief encore featuring “Thank God I’m Pretty”), I got to stick around for a while, as I had purchased a VIP ticket, which included a meet-n-greet with herself and a short reading from her upcoming book The Asylum (based on her own experiences). I was really excited to go all fangirl and get to sit and hear about the book. So the group of us were gathered together and led upstairs by Emilie’s tour manager, and he told us what the plan was: Emilie would come out and say hi. She would do a short reading from the book and perhaps answer some questions. Then they would put everyone in line, and we’d each get a chance to get something signed. After that, we could get back in line for a second go, and Emilie would take pictures with us.
It was really cool to get to meet herself. I got the distinct impression that she was nearly as happy to get to meet us as we were to meet her (well, mostly). She gave me the impression that she works really hard to stay grounded, and she enjoys interacting with her fans and talking to folks and she appreciates her fans. Some artists, it seems, get too into themselves, and forget that they’re just humans like the rest of us. She seems to work really hard, both to put on a damn good show and to remember that she is human. In fact, the heart that she paints on her face is supposed to be a reminder of that, in part. One of the folks at the VIP asked her about that.
We were treated to a little show and tell of some of the art that will be featured in the upcoming book. Instead of a reading, however, we got to do a sing-a-long. That was really neat. We sang “My Fairweather Friend”, which is a terribly sad song, when you actually listen to it.
After the sing-a-long, everyone go into line and EA signed things for everyone. No one was rushed through or hastened along. She had a word for everyone. Can you tell how impressed I am by this woman? She’s just lovely, I mean it. After getting things signed, everyone got back into line to get pictures with herself. Again, she was gracious and seemed genuinely happy to be doing this, despite the fact that it was after one in the morning and she’d just finished putting on a two hour show. That’s class, folks.
(All photos except the first are mine.)
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Tags: awesome, baltimore MD, bourbon st ballroom, concert recap, Emilie Autumn, love, music, opheliac, victoriandustrial