@ Newcastle o2 Academy, March 7 2010

Whenever Emilie Autumn is in town, you can be sure the circus has arrived.  Emanating the atmosphere of a Victorian burlesque show, her provocative dramatics are set to explode across Europe and Australia in her Asylum tour.   Ready or not, the bizarre performance unfolded before the eyes of the Newcastle crowd.

For those not aware of Emilie Autumn, it’s fair to say that growing up in a theatre environment has taken a profound effect on her stage.  Taking precedence throughout most of the set were cut scenes seeing many bizarre interactions with Autumn and her backing vocalists and dancers, The Bloody Crumpets.

The show began with Autumn singing behind a canvass with her shadow projected on to it, while her assistants wandered on in eccentric movement and skimpy corsets to the clanging of an industrial beat.  As the crowd were just warming to this merry-go-round of beauty and dread, fan favourite Opheliac began with its Greensleeves-like introduction on the harpsichord bursting into rebellious haunting shouts that resembled Patrick Wolfe at times.

The set had the potential to take quick shifts from the aura of an innocent fairytale to an eerie nightmare.  306 epitomized the latter with its dark electronica sound, which saw some very impressive acrobatics from one flailing dancer suspended from the ceiling. Dead Is The New Alive was also particularly menacing, especially after being accompanied with some fire juggling turning up the heat.

Despite some good performances it was disappointing that most of the songs were on a machine and ready to be played, and with only the singing left to do it meant that Autumn didn’t really play her trademark violin very much.

When she did, she let loose.  With some intense distortion and extreme shredding, Autumn produced an incredible solo that was pumped full of industrious profanity.  It sounded like the lovechild of Mozart and Herman Li of Dragonforce.

Throughout the night it was a shame to see some of the scenes dragging on in between songs.  Whilst it can be fully appreciated to try something different, there were times when the rehearsed scenes seemed incoherent and without any structure holding them together.  Also, it did seem that the image Autumn and the girls have as minx’s was played upon too many times, which led to the assertion that substance lacks.

Emilie Autumn can produce some stunningly dark and beautiful music, but her attentions really have to lie on improving dialogue and striking a good balance between it and the music.

Calum Robson