Concert From Hell III:
Hell Freezes Over
Voltaire, Harley Poe, Everthus The Deadbeats, Everything, Now!
Ball State University Student
Wednesday, Dec. 6
Sometimes, it’s just not a counterculture event until the fuzz breaks it up.
Admittedly, the Concert From Hell III, headlined by gothic quasi-legend Voltaire at the Ball State University Student Center on Dec. 6, was far from a real breakup; ask some Muncie old-timers sometime about the Nine Inch Nails riot or the time police set the dogs on concertgoers. (Ah, the 1990s … how we miss them.) This time around, the police on security duty just flipped on all the lights midway through the last song of Voltaire’s set (a real faux pas at a goth show, if you ask me) and made it quite clear it was time to clear out.
But a funny thing about subcultures is that they find a way to keep things rolling no matter what. The show itself was entertaining enough, with several local bands leading into a costume contest and Voltaire’s set. (I particularly liked Everthus The Deadbeats’ rockabilly-meets-prog stage scenario — the unholy spawn of Buddy Holly and Devo.) And Voltaire himself, a folk singer whose songs both parody and salute the doom ’n’ gloom set, was a commanding presence on stage with his acoustic guitar, black pinstriped suit and unnaturally pointy ears. Like the best folk artists, he has an uncanny knack for mid-song patter, this time around making plenty of jokes at the expense of MySpace. (“You know half the girls on MySpace are really fat guys in their mom’s attic, right?”)
What I suspect concertgoers will remember most, though, is the aftermath, when Voltaire took over the Student Center parking lot and performed an impromptu set from a heating grate that worked surprisingly well as a fill-in stage. Cold night air? Freezing wind? No problem! People just huddled together under blankets and jackets and made the best of it; he kept a good chunk of the crowd around for another half hour.
I didn’t make it to the after party, though Voltaire promised plenty of mayhem. “I fully expect to show how I despise my trousers!” he announced as the concert broke up. Something tells me another Muncie legend was already in the making.