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Voltaire at Albion/ Aug 3, 2002

Filed under: Live Music — doktorjohn August 3, 2002 @ 1:38 am

Just back from a gig in Colorado, Voltaire’s gypsy violin-driven quartet took the stage at NYC’s Albion/Batcave on Saturday August 3, 2002. To merely acknowledge vocalist Voltaire as writer, composer and guitarist falls far short of characterizing this multi-talented performer who modestly describes himself on his own website as a “Renaissance man.”

And that he is! A noted animator, comic, raconteur, poet, cartoonist and author, Voltaire, who cultivates an eerie resemblance to Satan, is likely the most successful and widely recognized figure to come out of the NYC Goth scene in a generation. He and his band perform around the nation and around the world, and are sought after for every kind of Gothic and/or geek convention as guest stars.

Voltaire’s animations are featured on the Scifi channel and are currently accessible on www.scifi.com. He has a bunch of cute and creative graphic novels— forever sold out— goofing on Goth pretensions and loaded with references to specific people and places in the NYC scene. He has just released a fourth CD, an anti-folk masterwork titled “Boo Hoo.”

He opened with a parody of a Ramstein number. The rest of the set consisted of eight minor key songs—mainly folk-rock to which the violin added a hint of European flavor— plus some original verse and several entertainingly funny stories.

A one-man “roast” of religion as well as all things Goth, Voltaire’s jokes and poems mainly consisted of friendly put-downs. Not shy about revealing his own shortcomings, Voltaire kept the audience in stitches by laying verbal and musical abuse on both the famous and the lesser-known that have crossed his path.

The song “Future Ex-Girlfriend” granted him opportunity to recite about his one date with Bjork, mocking his own masturbatory fascination with —and ultimate disillusionment in—the Icelandic diva. Religion got the Voltaire treatment in “The Man Upstairs,” a complaint about apartment living that has undertones of blasphemy. “When You’re Evil,” set to a tango, is Voltaire’s ode to himself.

   Fortunate and talented enough to make his living as multi-media artist and full-time Goth, he mocked those poseurs who disguise the fact that they are forced to lead double lives, He lampooned “Vampire Club” and spoofed those who term themselves “corporate Goths.” He teased his audience of “goyim” before closing with the traditional Jewish folk-dance number “Shalom”. And they loved it!

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