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On Friday, February 1st (the night before Imbolc), I was in California's State Capitol, Sacramento, at the Colonial Theater to see one of my favourite artists: Emilie Autumn. What made this show even more spectacular was the Meet and Greet that I had paid a bit extra for.
As I'm sure many of you might have noticed, EA (an abbreviation familiar to her fans: lovingly referred to as Plague Rats) isn't quite what you would classify as "Pagan", New Age, or typical Goddess-worship music in any way, shape or form; though I have blogged here about her and her music before here on Songs of the Goddess. There are many things, though, that's so beautiful, creative and poignant about her art (and that evening), that I would be remiss to not share it with you all .
First off, if you're unfamiliar with EA, at first glance you'll find a sugar-overloaded feast for the eyes. Her varying shades of shockingly vibrant hair colours, bubblegum Gothic make-up and wildly outlandish Victorian Brothel/Institutional mashed outfits could be a huge turn off at first for the more conservative types, but please give yourself a moment to take it all in and get to know who she is as an artist and you'll come to discover that there's a method to her madness, and everything she does means SOMETHING.
Autumn experienced abuse, which began when she was six years old, and is a survivor of rape. She keeps a ritual of drawing a heart on her cheek as a symbol of protection. - Bizarre
Her music is something else: a hodgepodge of Victorian, Classical, Electronica, Dance and the kitchen sink. She's a virtuoso on the Violin and Harpsichord and probably a million other instruments. Her music consists of layers upon layers of melancholy, regret, dark thematics to empowerment and silliness. Some songs are hauntingly beautiful, some seething with pain and some where she bares her naked flesh for you to do with as you please as she could care less of the results or consequences.
There are so many levels and layers to Emilie and her music that one could go on and on about both subjects and never truly be able to put into words the right way just how spectacular it all is. There are some people out there, who might not get it, which is fine. For me, it was as easy to fall in love with her music as it is casting a circle or embarking on a spirit journey. Music, like anything in life it is all a matter of personal taste and we all are attracted to and identity with those things that speak to us individually. There is no right or wrong.
As far as the concept of EA and her music, if I had to describe to you what it is and what she's about, I could only say (without going in to too much detail) is that Emile's music is about her "character" being an inmate, or former inmate, of a Victorian Mental Institution. Some of the music tells a story about the horrid things that women faced in those days with some songs subject matter revolving around the travesties many of then went through (much like the horrible experiences accused Witches went through during the Burning Times). Sometimes it also deals with her inability (or sometimes ability) to cope with these "experiences". Every so often there's rainbows and unicorns, but for the most part it's dark and twisted, yet through it all you feel her strength to go on and sympathise with her plight.
In regards to her latest album, Fight Like a Girl, the album has been described as "an operatic feminist treatise set inside an insane asylum, wherein the female inmates gradually realize their own strength in numbers. - SF Examiner
Now on to the evening and eventual meeting with Miss EA.
Upon arriving to the venue, which I've never been to before, I spotted an already huge line: being as I had the Meet and Greet package and knew I would get in early, I wasn't worried.
After retrieving my ticket at Will-call, I didn't wait long to be ushered into the venue. After a few instructions and rules from one of her crew, about 20 or so of us (I wasn't sure) filed in line to wait our turn to meet her.
When she finally came out, wearing red and white stripy socks, red leotard and white tank top type shirt - we finally were exposed to what we were in for. Her first instructions to all of us was, while we waited, to turn around and make a new friend for life (that was pretty unique and inspiring - and a constant theme for the evening).
In chatting with the girls around me (mostly in their early 20's) we all talked and passed the time realizing while watching the first few who had gone before us that we were in for a very intimate encounter. The majority of girls near me who I talked to, or overheard, collectively gave me the impression that they were in line to meet God and this was on par with a spiritual pilgrimage for many of them. Some came from Reno, one young lady drove up from Monterrey; for a large group of these fans, it really was a pilgrimage.
Some had talked about previous EA shows attended, some talked about gifts they had brought for her or what they wanted to tell her: all were nervous and excited. I was getting nervous and excited, I really had no idea what I was getting in to, what I would say and truth be told I felt a bit self conscious. Because of the time spent alone with each Meet and Greet fan, this process took quite a while, so after a long wait, I was next in line.
Though this might come across as strange, especially since I am so compelled to share this experience with you all, I have to admit that I feel like if I were to share the details about my interaction and conversation with her, I would lessen its importance because, and I really do feel that this experience and those precious moments talking to her was her gift to me and me alone. And I will always remember this special moment each time I hear "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from now on.
When all was said and done, picture taken, I walked away understanding just how those young women I chatted in line felt about her; that I had just met the Dalai Lama, Queen Victoria and the Goddess all at the same time. Not because I saw her as divine, but that I walked away from that encounter feeling so much better about myself and my life than those moments I spent before the encounter. It was a healing experience, it was a magickal experiance - it was an important event to me.
The evening's entertainment was also nothing short of breathtaking with EA offering a brilliant stage production, costume changes and of course bringing along a couple of her cohorts "Naughty" Veronica Varlow and Captain Maggot of "The Bloody Crumpets".
Captain Maggot introduces EA and Veronica's Fan Dance
The set list went all over her musical history though it concentrated on Ophiliac and Fight Like a Girl. The show itself is a combination of Alice Cooper, Vaudeville and Broadway mixed with plenty of sensuality, sexuality, frivolity and the perfect amount of humour. Emilie Autumn's show is definitely one you walk away from feeling that you've gotten your money's worth. The costumes, sets, content and all around entertainment value was about as perfect as you can get.
Although this was an incredibly magickal, and yes - almost spiritual, experience for me, I definitely hope it wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Like Disneyland decorated for Halloween, I would like to go back and repeat this again and again.
All photos and video taken by yours truly.
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