Editor’s Note: This is ridiculously overdue, and I blame laziness and Emilie rocking my brain out of my head.
Emilie Autumn is anything but your typical artist. She has her own genre of music, for one (Victorian Industrial); for another, being a member of the Asylum For Wayward Girls is bound to make one rather unique. Naturally, she delivers anything but a typical show, her antics a burlesque cabaret of the highest order, complimented by her viciously sardonic wordplay set to music. Accompanied by her fellow inmates Veronica, Aprella, The Contessa and Captain Maggot, Emilie delivers comedy, tragedy and music and interaction that pulls her beloved Muffins or Plague Rats deep into her world for an unforgettable experience.
Opening with Best Saftey Lies In Fear, the show kicked off with 4 O’Clock, easily enthralling the rain-drenched masses and washing away all chills of the weather kind from the spines. Chills of another kind, however, were in abundance. By the time Opheliac, the title track of her newly re-released album, flooded the venue, I was mesmerized and wondering how I might commit myself to the Asylum for life. There is a sexual charge in every action taken by the women on stage, and a kinetic energy that cannot be denied, no matter how hard one might try. The stage show is what The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer often try to create with the addition of talented people like The Danger Ensemble and Ladybird, but ultimately, they don’t quite achieve, simply because they are also busy supplying the instrumentation. As much as a live band would be delicious, I think Emilie having the freedom to prowl, dance and sing works wonders with the content of her work.
The addition of the other ladies allowed for segments of sensual amusement, including the staple Rat Game (look it up), a prayed led by The Contessa and tea time for us all, as Captain Maggot splashed us with tea and cookie crumbs. We were also blessed with balloons later in the night, which added to the inclusive vibe of the performance.
Emilie confessed part-way through the show, the first of her latest tour, that she was losing her voice, and led the crowd through a rousing singalong for Shalott. She seemed genuinely thrilled with how loud the crowd became, and commented that she would never sing the song again, if only to hear the fans through her monitor instead. This sort of devotion to her fans shone through beyond the concert, when I and a small group of other VIP ticket holders were treated to a reading from Emilie’s forthcoming Asylum book. Emile was committed to a lengthy reading, undisturbed by the noise of the crew taking down her show, and made all of us feel welcome and appreciated during our signings and photos. Artists that respect the fan dynamic always score highly in my books, and Emilie is an artist who nurtures that give and take more than many.
Highlights of the set included: Opheliac, The Art of Suicide, I Want My Innocence Back, I Know Where You Sleep and Bohemian Rhapsody, although truly, the entire set was a phenomenon. Missed songs on my part included Swallow, Gothic Lolita, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and Chambermaid.
SETLIST: EMILIE AUTUMN @ THE OPERA HOUSE, TORONTO, ON 10.9.09
Best Safety Lies In Fear
The Art of Suicide
I Want My Innocence Back
God Help Me
Dead Is The New Alive
I Know Where You Sleep
Misery Loves Company
Face The Wall
Thank God I’m Pretty