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Emilie Autumn: child prodigy, classically trained violinist, from the USA. Emilie is certainly a wild individual who believes in her music and her own style, with a passion for industrial metal and vaudeville. Her songs usually have pretty controversial subjects, such as sexual abuse, self mutilation, suicide, manic depression but delivered with a twisted humor. This is the madness of Emile Autumn, which makes for controversial live shows. She is known to many as Courtney Love's "anarchy violinist" and is touted by Interview Magazine as one of 14 acts to watch. She has a collection of self penned releases ‘Unlaced’, ‘Liar & Dead’, 4 O'Clock’, ‘A Bit O This &That’, and ‘Opheliac’, a mixture of classical, rock, metal and dance offerings. If that’s not impressive enough she has her autobiographical novel, "The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls," just released, describing her battle with bipolar disorder, with tales of madness, murder and experimentation. Just your usual everyday kind of scenarios I guess!

So it was to be one of those special nights of debauchery, musical entertainment and theatrical extravaganza. Gladly we weren't disappointed, it proved to be a most unusual evening. A SOLD OUT sign left us in no doubt as we headed upstairs that this was going to be a hot steamy night packed to the rafters. I spotted several Emilie wanna be clones, although they like to be called "Muffins" or "Plague Rats" decked out in corsets, headdresses with feathers and such finery, bright shiny people with tattoos, and shoes several platforms high. Unable to get close to the front, due to a mass of teenage screamers, hence I had to make do with an extra long lens and my trusty Canon compact. We got warned before the show by various employees "No filming what so ever on mobiles or cameras, or your cameras will be confiscated". Where were they when most of the front were videoing from both. I didn't risk a Mudkiss video shoot! There was no support, none required and for this I was grateful. Bang it was straight into the main act, around 8.30pm, and for the next two and a half hours we were transported into Emilie's world - an Asylum for wayward girls. A sign reads on stage 'BEWARE ESCAPED INMATES'.

Emilie has a backing band of voluptuously delicious, super charged erotic ladies, called The Bloody Crumpets, and boy are they sizzling, it seems most of the audience were women and they were screaming out for kisses and sex. Such was the power of Emilie and her waywards. The Bloody Crumpets are:
Aprella, the stunning blonde Bombshell, with a penchant for guns, mermaid & ballerina all rolled into one.
Naughty Veronica, the dark, sensual fan dancer who is the 50's pin up resembling Betty Page.
The Blessed Contessa, the wild temptress, who has a thing for seeing how many doughnuts she can cram into her mouth in one go.
Captain Maggot, the pirate kid, carrot topped cutie with more than a touch of feline grace, and a dab hand with the gigantic hula hoop.

The show kicked off with the aforementioned troupe, dramatically taking over the stage, one by one they emerged, to the strains of classical music. Each one dressed in a myriad of colours & patterns, a variety of exotica, array of glitter, rags, feathers, flowers and corsets.

Emilie finally graced the stage in a huge mask with spikes and long nose. The audience went wild and screamed, seems she is more than a little popular in Manchester. To describe the scene before my eyes, one could say burlesque, Victoriana, circus freak show, Vaudeville, glam rock, goth, with a little Alice in Wonderland thrown in for good measure.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Emile Autumn and her Bloody Crumpets, escapees from the insane asylum for wayward girls. It isn’t just the music - it’s the performance, which is a mix bag of sketches, music, and audience participation - she refers constantly to the crowd as plague rats - not sure I was keen on being called a plague rat? There’s no band it’s mostly backing tracks, although Emilie does play a mean electric violin and keyboards, held together with a heavy dance beat backing tracks. Let the show commence, the vixens held court for the next two hours and entertained us with comedy sketches, and rousing sensual displays of female prowess at it's finest.

It's not without it's shock appeal - "Are you ready to fuck?" shouts Emilie, the crowd yell back with approval.  "Are you ready to fight like a girl" she shouts before singing 'Dead Is The New Alive'.

Emilie is a beautiful red haired, rag doll, dripping with sequins, jewels and a taste for girls, she teases and flaunts herself to all the Crumpets, who in turn show there appreciation with a few clinches and kisses.We are transported to a mad hatters tea party, the girls drinking from tiny cups, Emilile waving a oversized spoon, The Blessed Contessa frequently spits tea into the audience. More audience participation when Emilie speaks to the crowd about her mascot bear called 'Suffer', Captain Maggot crowd surfs, and Aprella shoots us with her silver gun. Emilie is very camera friendly and seems to relish the eye to eye contact with us.

Photo: by Man Alive

There's definitely a taste for girl on girl as we are introduced to the 'Rat Game' which is a little bit silly but involves Naughty Veronica selecting a girl from the audience who " has to be virginal, and never been kissed by a girl". Caz was pluck from the crowd by their male 'wayward girl chaser' thus began the game of tease, culminating in the said girl Caz being snogged, to which she seemed delighted and was handed back to the sweating mosh pit.

The best of the show for me was 'Misery Loves Company' and the Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' it was a rip roaring dramatic performance. I'd prefer this to Queens version any day. Delivered with panache and wild abandon, most of all they seems like they were really enjoying themselves.

Emilie has a few changes of outfits throughout, swings from singing her high pitched vocals, to solo electric violin, which she plucks at wildly, to keyboards, lets the Crumpets take over the stage for a number (presumably while she takes a breath). At one point she tells us that's the end of the show, but comes back on, only to have her charge chastising her. He even hangs her upside down and tries to drag her away, back to her asylum no doubt.

The show had many little twists, turns and props. We had balloons, enormous spoons, floral displays, umbrellas, a scraggy bear, wild hulu hoop dancing from Captain Maggot, Emilile on the climbing circle frame, The Blessed Contessa did her own little performance of doughnut gorging, Naughty Veronica and her huge white feather fans, which was spectacular, Aprella charming and wicked with her silver gun, kissed her photo and threw it to the crowd. Emilie gives a nod to Morrissey yelling " Home of Morrissey, we love you".

Emilie starts to wind down the show in a flimsy chiffon nightie, saying her prayers and being seduced from behind with a fan dance by Naughty Veronica, whilst Captain Maggot swigs from a champagne bottle.

It's a privilege to be able to shoot at such a superb flamboyant show, each character has their own personality and special charm. Emile is certainly the ringmaster and she who must be obeys.

Intro/ 4 0’Clock
Art Of Suicide
Contessa gives introductions
Contessa leads prayer
God Help Me
Emilie talks to Veronica
The rat game
Dead Is The New Alive
Contessa eats
Misery Loves Company
Violin Solo
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
Thanks God

We've reached the end of the show, the stage is black and we are played out to the sound of Monty Pythons ‘Always Look On The Bright Side’. This was a truly unique experience and comes highly recommended, I for one will be back for the next tour. 

Review & photos by Mel (except 'the kiss' by Man Alive)
Videos by Tom Pimblett