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Live Review: Emilie Autumn (Nottingham Rock City)

Photo: Elizabeth Broadhurst

Rock City is heaving with alternative folk, coming from near and far to witness Emilie Autumn on her latest UK tour. Perhaps it’s the promise of new material, perhaps it’s her ever-growing profile or perhaps it’s just to witness one of the most exciting artists to swim the shores of the underground scene.

Opening with ‘4 O’Clock’, teamed with long-time intro ‘Best Safety Lies In Fear’, the mantra seems to be ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ and as one of the most innovative and interesting live performers working today, it’s more than justified. The apocalyptic, pounding bass mystifies the room into a terrifying silence as Autumn, joined by her Bloody Crumpets, Maggots, Contessa and Veronica, stalks the stage threateningly with some creepily jerky movements; they play the part of mad women a little too well.

Emilie Autumn has come under a lot of criticism for the seemingly eternal ‘Opheliac’ era, so it’s of interest to note that less than half of the set is lifted from her breakthrough. Notable omissions include the title track, ‘Dead Is The New Alive’ and ‘Misery Loves Company’ – arguably, a selection of her best known tracks. It does, however, prove that Emilie has confidence in her latest venture; the new tracks on offer more than prove their worth on the live circuit. If you aren’t yet anticipating the new material, a live show should conjure enough excitement to bide the time between this tour and the albums release (rumours nod towards July). Whilst ‘Gaslight’ presents a tender side to Autumn, things take a sinister twist as she introduces the audience to the album’s title track ‘Fight Like A Girl’ and the frantic call-to-arms ‘Time For Tea’ – a few hints that the record may just live up to it’s fiery title.

Photo: Elizabeth Broadhurst

The show ticks by with tracks such as the spoken poem ‘How To Break A Heart’ and the scene-setting nature of ‘Dr. Stockhill’ providing an extra minute or two for costume changes – after all, part of the charm in an Emilie Autumn show is the visuals. Victorian-goth chic makes way for the androgynous vibe that Autumn dons for the cabaret influenced ‘Girls Girls Girls’. Aside from this, there’s plenty of references to tea (with a few cups tossed into the crowd, during the invigorating ‘God Help Me’), a crowd pleasing slot from each crumpet and a stunning finale of the sarcastic anthem ‘Thank God I’m Pretty’.

The ‘Fight Like A Girl Tour’ lives up to it’s name, easily standing out as one of the greatest shows to visit our shores. The fresh material is exactly that – intrinsically Emilie Autumn with a few new influences tossed in. The setlist could, ideally, be tweaked to revisit the anthemic ‘Opheliac’ and ‘Let The Record Show’ but this isn’t just a show fuelled with the greatest hits of a career thus far; Emilie turns the underground goth scene into a theatre and though some will have you believe otherwise, the story is captivating, the music is exquisite and the talent is undeniable.

Photos: Elizabeth Broadhurst
Words: Simon McMurdo

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