Kathy Nichols

“The Weird Al Yankovic of Goth”

By - Oct 28th, 2010 12:27 pm

Just in time for Halloween, gothic folk hero Voltaire comes to Club Anything Thursday night.

Voltaire (whose given name is Aurelio Voltaire Hernandez, so no, he didn’t steal his stage name from the French Enlightenment author Francois-Marie Arouet, who used Voltaire as his nom de plume) is a man of many talents.

One thing he claims to admire about Arouet is that he “saw through the hypocrisies of humanity and commented on them through satire. In essence, he was able to educate people about the world around them by making them laugh,” something of which this musician seems to be pretty capable of himself.

Kind of like the Weird Al Yankovic of goth, his lyrics take a fun twist on macabre topics with songs like “Picnic in a Graveyard” (in which he references Edgar Allen Poe) to “BRAINS!,” which he penned for the Cartoon Network show The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. His musical stylings have been classified as everything from darkwave to ‘goth cabaret’ to new wave — his live band includes the standar guitar, bass and drums, and adds violin, trumpet, cello, and the accordion.

In addition to teaching stop-motion animation classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York (a place in which he is a staple on the goth club circuit), Voltaire has been producing his own animated films on a Super8 camera since the age of ten. This experience led up to a directing position in 1988 for MTV, for which he completed an ID called MTV-Bosch. He has since landed commercial gigs for the Sci-Fi Channel, Cartoon Network, and USA. Also responsible for comic book Chi-Chian and graphic novel Oh My Goth, Voltaire’s list of accomplishments in the visual arts world is impressive, although they do not overshadow his contributions to the musical world.

Always entertaining and amusing, tonight’s performance is presented by the Milwaukee Absinthe Society, Amerique 1912 Absinthe, and Club Anything (805 S. 5th St.). Doors open at 6 p.m., $5 cover.

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