Dark goth musician Voltaire descended into Hell in Atlanta before Halloween! If you haven’t heard of Voltaire, then you probably never attended a Dragon*Con party in Atlanta (biggest sci-fi, nerd lovin’ convention in the United States) or watched “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” (a dark cartoon about two children and their relationship with the grim reaper which aired on Cartoon Network from 2003-2008). Voltaire’s Dark Unicorn Cabaret brought the dark side of Halloween enchantment and song early to Atlanta, following Dragon*Con weekend and stopping through before October’s Halloween festivities have begun. The tour attracted a crowd dressed mostly in all black with several men wearing Victorian style top hats and quite a few women who were wearing black corsets.

Opening for Voltaire on Thursday, September 29, in Hell at the Masquerade was Hellblinki, the side show act of Captain Stab-Tuggo & Maybelle, and This Way to the Egress. The first opener, a trio of musicians called Hellblinki, played dark Goth-inspired dance songs to set the mood. After the first band, Voltaire took the stage and riled the audience up by making nerdy sci-fi references about Star Wars, klingons, and 20-sided dice. What can you say – he knows his audience and they love him for it! After this top hat crowned dark prince left the stage, two side show performers, Captain Stab-Tuggo and Maybelle performed almost inhumane tricks with their bodies. Audience members may have recognized the duo from their featured act and tricks on “America’s Got Talent.” Captain Stab-Tuggo got right to it and put a nine inch nail and a long drill bit through an orifice that no man or woman should ever put those items even near! With Maybelle’s continuous urging, Tuggo continued on with the wonderment and grossness of the side show by swallowing a sword. Then he went on to perform freakish shows of strength by lifting and swinging different weights from his septum and eyelids/sockets. Maybelle, not to be completely outdone by Tuggo, lifted and swung weights from her septum as well.

This Way to the Egress performed after that crazy side-show finished up. They used a variety of instruments to create a circus-esque, rag time-y, danceable sound which at times felt like a devilish death march. The drummer simultaneously played drums and hit a wind chime with his left drum stick; there was a guy performing using a violin bow on a saw; a lady on the keyboard; and at different times, an accordion player and a guy sounding off on a French horn. Two of my favorite performances from their set included the number when the female lead sang and fanned what looked like flower petals in front of the musicians and also another number when the male musicians hovered over her and pretended that she was a puppet.

Voltaire, of course, was the grand finale! He was a charming vision in all black, wearing a fur collared black coat which framed his tall physique. Long black hair and a goatee gave him a devilish appearance as he pandered in song and jest to the crowd. The music was of modern gothic quality yet reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ Mr. Grinch theme song with violin twists and evil Halloween inspired lyrics. He sang crowd favorites, “Brains!,” “Death Death (Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil song),” “Zombie Prostitute,” and the ultimate one song encore ending, “When You’re Evil.” The charismatic Voltaire had the audience singing along for most of the night and was even accompanied by a pretty goth girl go-go dancer who bumped and grinded through several songs. She also played with the crowd as balloons were volleyed through the air. Voltaire’s songs and CDs range from raunchy horror grotesque to country sci-fi comedy to kid friendly Halloween songs – all of which would make a perfect addition to any spooky Halloween party set list. Voltaire’s Dark Unicorn Cabaret show was the perfect way to usher in October’s Halloween festivities!