I hadn’t heard much of Emilie Autumn‘s music, but I did know that she’s a violinist and that was enough to get me to see her live. It was questionable whether she’d be able to perform, as she had to cancel the past few dates due to a throat infection and no voice. The show went on and despite being under the weather with a voice less than 100%, she gave the performance her all.
It was an interesting night. Even though most of the music was pre-recorded (minus the vocals and an occasional keyboard or violin part), Emilie Autumn and her merry band of Bloody Crumpets put on a very visually interesting and entertaining show. The performance was quite theatrical in the burlesque style and definitely had what I’d call a musical theater feel to it. The venue, Station 4, wasn’t the best place for Emilie Autumn to play, as it’s a bit of a dive with a small stage and support posts down the middle of the floor and stage in contrast to the gorgeous costumes and Victorian themes of the performers and the show, but whatcha gonna do?
I was disappointed that there was not a lot of live violin, but as a fellow violinist, I understand how hard it would be to do much singing and playing at the same time. It’s nearly impossible to do so with proper violin technique and Emilie Autumn definitely has a very textbook playing style.
Some interesting moments during the evening included the Crumpets throwing freshly licked tea cookies out at the crowd, a bit called the “Rat Game” whereby a female audience member who has never kissed a girl before is brought on stage to kiss Crumpet Veronica, and one of the Crumpets did an extended crowd surf and then later donned stilts.
Even if you don’t like Emilie Autumn’s music, it is definitely worth seeing her live show, as she is a true entertainer.
On an somewhat unrelated note, after I got home from the show, I checked out Emilie Autumn’s Twitter page and saw this rant about people asking for freebies…free tickets to shows, free VIP passes, free whatever:
Her post struck a chord with me, as I have made it a point for the past 10+ years to support independent artists. It started by my decision to boycott the RIAA in 2000 (RockBand tracks are one of very few exceptions) and seek out music by independent artists and labels. Today, I not only spend my hard earned money on independent music, but I also attend a large number of concerts, help spread the word about the indie artists I find interesting via my podcast (of which I fund entirely out of my pocket), and also promote concerts. I put a lot of time, money and energy into supporting independent music and while I don’t expect everyone to put in the same amount of effort, freeloaders who just don’t get it do really annoy me.
“To all those asking for free tix, free this, free that, kindly permit me inform you that the amount of $$$ I have lost on touring during the past five years is nothing short of astronomical, is far more than an upper class American’s yearly salary, and could in fact purchase a small city.”
It is abundantly clear that Emilie Autumn takes her craft very seriously and I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be as a struggling artist to be constantly bombarded with requests from people who claim to be fans yet who are not willing to shell out a small amount of money for a concert ticket, music, whatever to help support the art they enjoy. It’s a small price to pay to help ensure the artist is able to continue making art and to continue touring. I understand that we are in an economic crisis right now, but if you’re really as big of a fan as you say you are, plan ahead, save up and get yourself to the show. If it’s not possible to for you to buy a ticket, don’t go begging to the artist for a free ride. That’s just rude.
Autumn’s post isn’t all negative. She says at the end:
“On the lovely side, fuck the major (and minor) labels of the world who claim that nobody is paying for music anymore, because there is ONE thing and one thing only from which I derive any income at all, and that is digital downloads bought via my own website and iTunes by honest, fair, and incredibly kind Plague Rats around the world who know very well that they could easily download pirated copies for free, but choose not to. For this I thank you endlessly and wholeheartedly, as do Basil, Sir Edward, and the other hundreds of Asylum ratties who get to eat because of you:).”
In response to Autumn’s tweet and after having purchased a hard copy of Opheliac at the show, I also purchased a digital download of the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Bohemian Rhapsody EP and Laced/Unlaced (Double Disc). While I enjoy Autumn’s music, I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan. So why spend my money on 3 albums and a concert ticket in the span of 24 hours? Because promoting creativity and supporting truly unique and talented artists is important to me. Thank you, Emilie Autumn and all the other artists out there who choose make the sacrifices necessary to devote your lives to your original art.