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SweetJunkieGirl's Asylum Experience Part 2: Mountain View, California

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On the advent of Emilie Autumn's return to the Asylum Army live chat, your devoted Emilie Autumn Examiner plague rat thought it it was a good time to post the second, final portion of SweetJunkieGirl's evocative account of her second day at Warped Tour 2014's Asylum Experience.

This show presages the Asylum Immersive Musical, which has no other details besides some cryptic allusions made by both Emilie Autumn and Darren Lynn Bousman.

For now, you have only these two accounts, from SweetJunkieGirl, to enjoy, and she also kindly provided a video playlist, from Youtube, of several of the very interactive performances that occurred at one of the shows from the Asylum Experience.

***************************

Do you know why lions roar?

Short answer: to be heard.

Long answer: they roar to mark their presence, to claim their territory as their own, and to communicate their whereabouts to others like themselves.

So many layers of meaning, locked in a simple roar.

"I am here, I am mine, come to me."

One lion to another.

***

A second show comes my way, this time in Mountain View, California, and the cooler weather makes all the difference. There is just more this time: more air, more people, more grass to run about on, more interaction in every direction. There is a playful atmosphere right from the beginning, and we all get busy amusing ourselves once the gates are opened. EA and the Crumpets arrive, and they play with us as they perform. Throughout the day we are gifted the time and space to breathe and do nothing, together, and I realise that this is it. This is the point of the show. To gather, and to play.

To Be.

Knowing what to expect, I miss nothing this time, and yet it is different enough that I am constantly surprised. 'What Will I Remember' breaks my heart all over again. 'God Help Me' continues to be spectacular chaos, or a chaotic spectacle, whichever you prefer. 'Dead Is The New Alive' sees EA stomping triumphantly about the grounds, calling her Plague Rats to arms and revelling in our cheered response.

Gather. Play. Be.

They leave for the last time ahead of the final show and I dash to take a place at the front of the stage. I am joined by other now thoroughly excited Plague Rats, laughing and chattering in
delightful anticipation. In the spirit of the day, I deliberately and with zero regret do something I very rarely do at concerts, and certainly not at an EA concert.

I put away my camera.

Now the reasons I usually document events like this are many. A mixed mess of needing to feel useful somehow, of crippling self-consciousness without a role to play or prop to hide behind, a need for distance from the now lest I be overwhelmed by the fact of my own reality. A bone aching fear of being Seen, set against a consuming need to be Seen in order to feel real. This personal Scylla and Charybdis, this push/pull between a full life and vacant existence, is maybe a hangover from reading too many books about The Borrowers as a child, is probably the aftereffects of a life early lived only in relation to others and never from the inside out, but actually, whatever. I know my path by now, and I walk my way through, and mostly most of me survives, yet I also know that any sincere participation in the world will leave me privately crucified, after. So on this day, in this place, when I say the words, "I put away my camera"...

Feel that weight.

And yet.

Just before the main performance begins, yet another band strikes up their screaming somewhere in the vicinity, and unseen technicians bump up the volume of the speakers on the Asylum stage to near bursting point. The sun emerges, kissing our heads and inviting terrible metaphors. The shuddering groans of 'Best Safety Lies In Fear' announces the start of the show to the Plague Rats in the crowd, and we squeal in delight as the Crumpets take to the stage. I seize the arm of the Plague Rat beside me as Veronica lovingly caresses both our faces, and we sigh in unison and giggle together as she walks away.

Gather. Play. Be.

And then.

Sunshine flicks tiny sparkles off her corset and turns her mohawk to a crown of white fire. We scream our excitement as the sirens flare and EA steps quietly onto the stage. She begins to sing the
opening song, 'Fight Like A Girl', and we raise our voices to sing along.

And then.

Something changes. Perhaps it is the sunlight. Perhaps it is the competing noise from the next stage over. Perhaps it is the beautiful journey we have taken together on this day, the thousand tiny smiles of delight we have given each other, the gifted freedom we have shared, to play and to be. Perhaps it is all of this, and some magic more.

Whatever the reason, something changes, and we are no longer just singing.

Now, we roar.

***

The show is a constellation of moments, blessed in sun and fire.

/there are more of us than there are of you/

(roar)

/when I am bad I am fucking gorgeous/

(roar)

Even though I have seen this setlist performed before, today feels new in special and sparkly ways. Veronica's feather fan is a kiss upon my cheek. I catch Maggots' eye and hand her a dime during 'Girls Girls Girls'. This time, for the first time, during 'Gaslight' I am broken by memories, my voice crushed out by tears. The crowd rises up around me,

/we know tomorrow, it could be one of us/

and it's briefly all too much perfection, and some part of me recoils and curls itself around the pain. I know I will cherish the memory of this moment, but the moment itself...

I recover in time for the end, the march and strings of 'One Foot' returning warmth to the day. All too soon, Dr Stockill is whisking EA away and the show is over. Yet again, still entranced, some few of us linger. The crew strikes the tents, packing away the circus, until at the last even the sun has faded. It is time to leave.

I walk away, struck solemn by all I have felt and witnessed. I walk away in a daze, my throat raw with roars, my body aching with the delayed strain of so long standing.

Yet as I walk away, my step grows lighter, and certain thoughts start to float into my mind. First of cages, then of hilltops. Thoughts of building. Of beginnings.

Of teeth, and bones, and time.

I walk away.

My fingers twitch.

I walk towards.

******************************************************

If you haven't read the first part of SweetJunkieGirl's enrapturing account, you should definitely check it out. Thanks to SweetJunkieGirl for being willing to share her experience with all those Plague Rats, who were unable to attend this series of exciting,unforgettable performances put together by Emilie Autumn and her team of esteemed cohorts. Those cohorts include highly energetic volunteers, the wonderful Bloody Krumpets, Marc, Darren Lynn Bousman, and countless others (including all the fine actors and actresses). We are indebted to their sworn comittment to this musical festivity, which has kept Emilie Autumn's pipe-dreams of a musical alive.

Today, Emilie Autumn will be starting her live chat series once again with members of her Asylum Army. More information about how to join and become committed can be found, amongst many other equally interesting links below.

Stay tuned for coverage about information divulged during today's live chat! If you thought Emilie Autumn's marked absence for the past two weeks have been in vain, you are sorely mistaken.

Links of interest:

Cache of other Emilie Autumn Examiner articles
Asylum Emporium (Emilie Autumn's fabulous webstore)
Asylum Army fansite (Join Emilie Autumn's official fan club)
Emilie Autumn's Twitter
Emilie Autumn's Official Facebook Fan Page
Emilie Autumn's Instagram
Emilie Autumn's Youtube Account

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