Tag Archives: aurelio voltaire

Music Tattoos

It’s 2017 and to get out of my writer’s block funk and to increase the content on this blog, I decided to branch out beyond just albums and concert reviews and also get more personal. Today I’ll be discussing my music-related tattoos.

The art of tatooing has been around for thousands of years. The more commercialized forms of tattooing we see today is still somewhat stigmatized and considered especially taboo for women. I’m a firm believer in one’s own body autonomy and that anyone can modify themselves however they want regardless of gender. For some young people it can be a sign of rebellion and a way to show that they’ve broken free from their parents at 18. Some people get tattoos solely because they like the image or design at the time. And for others, myself included, each tattoo represents an important piece of themselves and tattoos become a written history on their bodies. While I will never judge someone’s reasons to get a tattoo, tattoos with stories and especially fandom connections are the most significant and interesting for me personally.

I currently have 8 tattoos on my body. Since my very first tattoo in 2010 till today, there hasn’t been a single tattoo that I regret. Each of them signify a significant achievement in my life or something I am proud of, be it a movement, ideology or fandom. Even if I get older and may not necessarily agree or like what I have tatooed on me, it will be a reminder of my journey in life and where I was at the time of that tattoo and how much I have grown as a person. No apologies. No regrets.

I currently have 4 music related tattoos which I will share below.

The first ever musician whose music connected deep to my core was Amanda Palmer. Like most fans, I began by listening to a few albums and then found myself following all her social media on which she is very active. Like any musician, her style changes with each new album, but the woman behind the lyrics inspires me every day with how she connects with the world and her fans. I have seen her perform 3 times and twice I got to meet her in person after her shows. It took me almost 2 years to decide on what sort of tribute to Amanda I want on my body and on my birthday in February 2010 I went in and got her signature eyes on my back. It was also my first EVER tattoo so I was especially nervous about doing her justice. Amanda is also the type of performer who wants to know her fans personally and will sign and hug each and every person after each gig. After the gig in November 2010, Amanda had “personalized” my tattoo and now I have a full Amanda face to be proud of. While I do not like every single one of her songs equally or agree with all her decisions as a person, her art has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’ve also been very lucky to meet some of the most incredibly kind and wonderful people through her fandom and will be eternally grateful for her existence.

 

My most painful tattoos have been my feet and I choose those quite deliberately. The music of Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan and their various bands (Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, etc)  have always spoken directly to my dark side which I battle with almost on a daily basis. Their music reaches into the darkest parts of me and soothes those demons. To take a metaphor and make it literal, they “ground me” when it need it most and thus they are represented on my feet. These have also been the most painful tattoos since the skin on the feet is the most sensitive and that had also been a conscious choice.

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Lastly and most recently in my collection of music tattoos, after having seen Aurelio Voltaire in concert 3 times and not only fallen in love with his music, but with him, I decided it was time to permanently show that love. Not only does he write wonderful music which brightens up even the darkest days, but having met him, I’ve see the kind and generous soul who also embraces his own darkness and goth style much like myself. I’ve found a kindred spirit in the music and the person behind the glamorous musician. So just last week shortly after Voltaire’s 50th birthday and close to my own 29th, I decided to add more permanent “goth” to myself that’s not just disposable clothing or makeup. In such way I am embracing myself in a world where often alternative people aren’t always accepted.

Finally, semi-related to music, I also added more “gothness” by adding bats to my head not only because they are cute but also because of Voltaire’s song “Raised by Bats” and further embracing my weirdness and choosing to celebrate it.

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What music related tattoos will I get in the future? I have no idea. I usually dwell on a tattoo for a long time considering design, colours, size and placement. I have many more musicians who mean a lot to me but it’s always tough to choose good representation. Song lyrics are a popular choice among fans but I find that to be unstable as favourite songs change and new albums are always being put out. So who know? I would certainly like something to represent my love for IAMX and Placebo next but I haven’t decided what.


Best Gigs of 2016

Today is the first day of a new year and new month. But before we can dive into 2017 and everything is has planned, I’d like to look back on the all awesome gigs I attended this year. My current policy is to stay away from large festival gigs as I believe paying exorbitant prices just to see one band in the lineup is just not worth it. So I’ve been sticking to smaller clubs for those in the know. Sadly due to health problems and overall low energy, I was not able to do individual reviews for each concert, but I’ll give a general summary of all of them.

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My brother was able to get me last minute ticket to this show for my birthday and it really pumped a lot of energy into me in the beginning of 2016. Please see previous post for a full review.

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As I’ve been venturing more into the obscure side of alternative music, I came across Das Ich while searching for something different than mainstream industrial. Those guys give absolutely INCREDIBLE energy. It was hard to believe that they still rock out just as hard as when they’d formed in 1989. Despite not understanding all the words, the power of their performance conveyed everything they had wished which is a mark of a group with a truly international reach.i3__qyayunq

Considering that Russia doesn’t have a very big, organized or loyal alternative fan base, observing the Witch House genre and scene expand here has been like a very quirky sociology project. Bands like Dita RedRum, Cult of Cain and Fraunhofer Diffraction have gained cult following amoug young “baby bats” or those first dipping their toes into nu-goth. Such gigs either tend to have a very small audience, or are packed to the max, making it quite uncomfortable, even for a seasoned concert goer like myself. Moreover, going to any witch house gig is rather annoying as young drunk and high teens have created a new rave culture as normal clubs and discos are often over-priced and very face controlled. I feel like a rare flower for attending a gig to actually enjoy the music and sway like a 90s goth doing the tree dance. Sadly even for me, this young unruly crowd has become a deterrent from going to more concerts of this type. I must be getting old.

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Second year in a row seeing them and they always bring their A game. A rare opportunity to dance EBM and really let it all hang out.

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Much like Hocico, Alien Vampires’ harsh EBM brings the connoisseurs of industrial, EBM and overall darkling who not only mosh but also dance. Yet another opportunity to wear my biggest platform boots and stomp my heart out all night.

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I was quite uncertain what to expect of this band as attending had been a last minute decision. Their last album hadn’t particularly stood out for me. I had hoped their live sound would have been more EBM and Industrial but it the combination of harsh metal guitar and screamo vocals still made it work. Very down to earth guys who were more than happy to exchange hugs and selfies afterwards.

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This was Aurelio Voltaire’s 3rd year performing in Russia and each time it just gets better and better. I’m surprised that he has quite a sizable audience here since it does take an advanced level of English to understand his jokes and puns but at the end of the day, rum and vodka brought us all together. I cannot sing this man enough praises. Even though he’s unable to bring backing musicians on tour, forcing him to keep it acoustic, his sweet deep voice and guitar do not make the music boring. Each of his songs are always incredible well written and there is something for everyone, the goths, the nerds, or anyone who likes silly alcoholic karaoke-type singalongs. He bares his heart and soul on stage every night and truly values his fans as he never leaves the club until he has met, hugged and taken photos with everyone. What an extraordinary man who shows that being a label-less musician with big dreams and hard work, one can do anything!

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The crowning jewel of the top of 2016 was of course IAMX. Despite still being placed in the alternative category, much like Placebo, IAMX have a huge young Russian teenage girl fanbase. If you think you’ve seen big metal head guys moshing, that’s childsplay compared to what lengths young women will go to get the tiniest taste of their idols. This was my 4th time seeing them in Moscow and the whole band exudes sex and filth and an energy unlike any other. People may have differing opinions on how Chris’ writing has changed album to album, but no one can dispute how they deliver every song on stage as if it may be their last. While listening to the albums is fun, this is a band which MUST be experienced live to feel the real devotion and intense connection between an artist and their fans.

 

That’s all folks. Let’s hope 2017 will be a better year for all of us. Cheers!

 


For one night only: Voltaire in Moscow!

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While June 14th  may have been another ordinary Saturday for most Moscovites, for Moscow’s finest alternative folks, it was a night to celebrate everything goth. A crowd gathered at the entrance of Mona Club dressed in their best goth, steampunk and dark attire. The scene was set and everyone waited for Aurelio Voltaire to grace the stage. This was Voltaire’s first time in Russia, and after the gig in St. Petersburg  just a few nights before, Moscow was eagerly awaiting their turn. Voltaire was making everyone was giddy with anticipation for his very first concert in the capital.

Prior to his appearance on stage, Voltaire signed the CDs he produced exclusively for Russia and met many of the fans. The opening band was a quartet of local string musicians who performed a selection of classical works. The MC also riled the crowd up with excitement for the upcoming act. While he did produce a few screams which could certainly be heard backstage, his presence did get rather stale when he invited some ladies from the crowd to stand on stage. When one pirate girl robbed him of his microphone and cane, he was quick to defend himself with misogynist remarks. I was glad my non-Russian speaking companion did not have to listen to his rnonense. Luckily Voltaire appeared on stage to soothe the fidgety crowd that he only needed another 10 minutes to ready himself for the performance.

The restless fans almost burst with anticipation when Aurelio finally graced the stage with his guitar. Voltaire started the set with “To the Bottom of the Sea.” The crowd needed a quick lesson in singing the chorus and soon after everyone rawred to each and every familiar song. Many favourites were performed such as “Ex Lover’s Lover,” “Straight Razor Cabaret,” “Zombie Prostitute” and “Brains.” During “Brains” Aurelio welcomed the fans to scream the words “mozgi,” brains in Russian. Each time Voltaire messed up the lyrics he had to drink a shot of his favourite Cuban run. For the steampunk audience members, which there were quite a few, Voltaire sang “The Mechanical Girl.” While not everyone may have understood Aurelio’s dark and dirty jokes, I certainly howled with laugher. Recognizing the strong Doctor Who fan presence, Voltaire included his song “Bigger on Inside” in the set. To finish the concert, Aurelio invited anyone who wished to sing on stage to contribute to the vocals of “When You’re Evil.” Thus the first ever Moscow Beelzebub choir, myself included, got to share the stage with Voltaire.

After Voltaire finished performing, he promised to stay for the afterparty and drink merrily with the fans, just as he had done in St. Petersburg. I joined the crowd to try and get my Voltaire toys, Pony of Doom and Candy Claws signed but alas my efforts were not rewarded. An unruly crowd of horny females quickly swarmed Voltaire with offering of drinks and kisses. I would have felt quite overwhelmed by the attention in such a situation and so I politely retreated. Despite not getting a photo or anything signed, it was one of the most satisfying concerts I have ever been too. Voltaire is a truly gifted performer. Despite whatever language barrier he might have encountered in his career, Voltaire’s infectious smile and charm can break through to any audience and stir-up excitement. The connection he has with his fans is extraordinary and I was lucky to be a part of that for one magical evening. I surely hope that Voltaire felt welcomed and loved in Russia and will return to his loving fans soon.

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PS. Voltaire’s new album now can be purchased through multiple vendors HERE!!!