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Emilie Autumn at Rock City [10/03/2012]

On Saturday night Emilie Autumn arrived at Rock City and brought her menagerie of bizarrely brilliant stage girls with her – or as she calls them, her Bloody Crumpets. Creating the atmosphere of a Victorian burlesque show, her provocative dramatics were just as much about the performance as the music, although that’s pretty good too.

Her Bloody Crumpets include Naughty Veronica (a gothic-looking and well-established burlesque dancer), Blessed Contessa (a spell-casting dancer and stage performer) and Mistress Maggot (a plucky little pirate girl who was recruited from the circus). All three, and indeed Emilie, were dressed in their trademark period cabaret outfits.

A two-hour show set in the ‘Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls’ saw Emilie impress a large audience of fans (or Plague Rats as she calls them) as she played electric violin, piano and wowed with her haunting lyrics and fantastic show. She turned up without a support act – something which can be risky for world-renowned artists, let alone an alternative violin player with a bipolar disorder, but truthfully she didn’t need one. After watching countless artists just standing with their instruments, however musically talented they may be, it was refreshing to see someone who actually wanted to put on a show.

The show began with Emilie singing behind a canvas, with only her shadow visible, while her assistants danced in skimpy corsets to the clanging of an industrial beat. She performed fan-favourite Opheliac as the show began like an innocent fairy-tale, complete with tea and cupcakes.

A darker electronica sound creeped into the show with a live rendition of the lingering 306, Mistress Maggot showed off her circus skills and turned up the heat by spinning a flaming hoop around her waist while Emilie sang the menacing Dead Is the New Alive.

Highlights of the show included new single Fight Like A Girl which comes from her upcoming album of the same name (due to be released in June), Swallow and shout-along anthem Liar.

It was a fantastic night which both looked and sounded great; more like a theatre performance than a typical gig. There wasn’t enough of EA’s trademark violin, but plenty of originality – coming from a slightly insane but very musically talented woman who did wheelchair dancing before Lady Gaga did. The girls have received some criticism about the increasingly sexy show, especially as Emilie’s popularity has grown rapidly since Veronica started kissing female members of the audience. But if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Sarah Mitchell

Editor of LLR since 2005

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