voltaire @ el corazon

voltaire

I had the good fortune of finally catching Voltaire at El Corazon tonight, and suffice to say I’m still grinning from the ridiculous amount of laughter and enjoyment that man puts into an hour-long show.

By himself.

No drummer, no bassist, no pianist, nobody else. Voltaire holds an audience by himself better than half the bands I’ve seen in the past year. And I go to quite a few shows.

For the unitiated, Voltaire is a folk-goth-rock artist (yes, I know, it’s weird to describe) who’s actually been around for the past decade, playing random shows across the country and making appearances at sci-fi cons. Currently, he’s on his first national tour, and it’s simply bewildering that nobody’s booked him for the next year straight by now. The majority of his songs throw a lighthearted, often hilarious take on otherwise macabre subjects such as necrophilia (“Zombie Prostitute”) and a controversial yet-still-hilarious look at religion (“God Thinks.”)

But beyond the brilliant lyricist and songwriter that Voltaire undeniably is, it’s his showmanship that truly makes him a standout performer. The constant interactions with the crowd and pure nonstop wit had the audience doubled over in laughter during his set, which almost begged the question of why the guy didn’t become a stand-up comedian. But, hearing him play guitar and sing his songs quickly reaffirmed why we were watching a musician and top-notch performer, not just a guy with a good sense of humor.

Ten minutes before it was time for Voltaire to hit the stage, the real shocker of the night came. Voltaire himself was wandering around the back bar at El Corazon. His alcohol-tinged social antics led him to come to the group of me and my friends, when he asked, “Um, anyone know what time it is?”

Not star-struck in the least, I laughed and said “You’ve got 10 minutes, Volty. Better hurry with that rum.”

With that, the bastard chugged the rest of his drink and left it on our table.

“It’s SHOOOOWTIME,” he quipped with an evil cackle and promptly waltzed towards the stage.

Sure enough, ten minutes later we were being wildly entertained by a lyrical madman in a suit and black top hat singing songs about having sex with zombies and setting the east coast on fire. It was one of the most enjoyable times at an otherwise dingy venue that I’ve ever had, and the next time Voltaire makes a run through town, look for me in the front row.

Here’s a link to a clip of Voltaire at The Vogue (RIP) a few years ago, explaining the true origins of Jesus.

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