Tuesday, September 27, 2011

wickedly fun evil- voltaire at the rex theater

Last night I attended a concert at The Rex Theater in Pittsburgh's very own South Side neighborhood.  The artists to perform at this former vaudeville theater?  Hellblinki, This Way to the Egress, and Voltaire!

I showed up in... well, a sort of mallgoth look.  I'm currently waiting for a dress to be made for the Goblins and Gears Fantasy Ball and have several other events to attend this October and November, and since this concert was not necessarily a steampunk event, I wanted to save the steampunk outfits that I do have for those events:

I was trying to go for a nonchalant look, but look like I am trying to be emo or
"I'll kick your ass!" type of an attitude instead.
Damn it, I am a mallgoth.
After meeting up and chatting with several members of the Steel City Steam Society, the show began.

Hellblinki.  How can I describe it?  Part punk rock that just puts you in a crazy dance mood, part dark cabaret with a bit of a gypsy feel and ghost noises attached.  The three-(wo)man band consists of front man Andrew Benjamin (lead singer, guitar player, and drummer),  Valerie Meiss (female vocalist, ukelele player, and a wide and random assortment of percussion instruments and background noises) and Brad Lunsford (bassist, keytar player, and organ pedal operator).  They were an absolute pleasure to listen to- none of the songs disappointed, and the energy and dark humor of the band between sets made for great audience interaction.

I tried to record one of their songs on my camera, but I could not find the damn record button in the dark theater.  One would think that I would know this camera inside out by now after having spent two weeks pretty much glued to it while in Europe.  Instead you have some poor photos taken without flash:

The second band, This Way to the Egress, was a mixture of dark cabaret and circus-y songs mixed with electronic sounds that was playfully dark and delicious.  At least what I heard of them.  At this time your blogger was spending time chatting with the head of the SCSS about corsetry and the evils of Facebook in the lobby.  So while we could see and hear the show, we weren't really paying the best of attention to this particular band's performance.  They did praise the "wonderful" urban decay of our dying city of Pittsburgh.

Next up: Voltaire.

Backed up by most of the members of This Way to the Egress and Valerie Meiss from Hellblinki, Voltaire played a nicely varied show of songs from most of his albums.  Opening up with "Death, Death, (devil, devil, devil, devil, evil, evil, evil, evil) Songs," Voltaire then flew energetically through "Brains!", "Almost Human," "Zombie Prostitute" (featuring a local burlesque dancer complete with patches of rotting skin) and "All Women Are Crazy."

"She's a rotten kind of cute..."
"...for a Zombie Prostitute"
Voltaire is certainly a curiosity of a performer, making audience interaction a priority.  Constantly making fun of himself and his goth-ness as well as his current band members, the audience, women, men, and whatever else comes across his fancy in the course of the concert, the audience just latched onto him and his banter.  Even when the audience did not seem as energetic as I had hoped, Voltaire would boost our egos and praise Pittsburgh's awesomeness on a Monday night (with much appreciative laughter from the audience, who knows that the only things there are to do in Pittsburgh on a Monday are Monday Night Football and surfing the web.)   By the end of the night everyone seemed to feel closer to not only the musicians but to each other, as corny as that sounds.  Mostly because we were trying to catch each other's eyes every time a new self-depreciating joke or comment was thrown out at us to see if our neighbors appreciated it as much as we did.  And, when Voltaire invited us to shout out the many dirty words during verses of "The Dirtiest Song That Ain't" a sort of "partners in crime" type association had developed between audience members, especially after Voltaire said at the conclusion of the song, "Heehee, I didn't say one dirty word."

This was, sadly enough, the best photo I managed to get of Voltaire.
He also explained in great detail the story behind the name of his newest album, Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking From a Chalice Filled With the Laughter of Small Children (or, as Voltaire quipped, "The song that Iron Maiden failed to make.")  Want to learn the story?  Go see his show.  You won't regret it.  I am definitely not Voltaire's most enthusiastic fan- I don't even own one full album of his- and I had more fun at this concert than I did at the MCR concert I attended last Thursday, whose music I enjoy listening to on a more regular basis.

Of course the show ended with the classic song, "When You're Evil,"  which many voices sang along to with much gusto.  A perfect note to a perfect concert.


  1. Hey, I have that same top! I've never tried it with the top button open; it really works!! You look great, even with the ass-kicking expression. :)

    Sounds like such a fun show! I never got into his music, but I haven't given him a fair shot in years. I'll have to head over to YouTube with an open mind. :)

  2. @ VictorianKitty- It is a pretty awesome top, isn't it? so if you plan to try it with the top button open use safety pins to pin the cloth back like that. It was the only way I felt I could properly display my cameo necklace.

    Definitely check out Voltaire in concert if he ever tours near you- the tickets are very reasonably priced and the show is loads of fun!