The best thing about Il Motore is that it is smack dab in the middle of nowhere, a real pain in the ass to get to. The mercury had dropped down somewhere around -22 (without wind chill) in Montréal, and when it’s looking that grim there is extra special care taken when contemplating leaving the house. You are forced to layer up and have a few drinks, anything to dull the burn as the wind cuts across your face.
When I got there the stage was set. Black and burnt American flag in the background, a seven-foot tall candleholder on either side of the stage at the front. A single floor tom, a robin’s egg blue Gibson, some scattered ephemera and cloaked objects. Those of us there early tried to eek out a good vantage point.
Looking around I noticed a trend in the audience. Most of the males wore fitted black shirts done up to the top most button, no tie, shiny black Doc Martens, and hair styled in the fashion of the Hitler youth. Had the shirts been brown I would’ve began to wonder what I had walked in to.
At some point the candles were lit, the Roy Orbison on the hi-fi was turned down, and King Dude took the stage.
The thing I like about King Dude, besides his music, is that he has somehow been able to take everything about psychobilly (slicked back hair, dressing like a waiter in a fine dining establishment, Luciferian worship, those old timey giant guitars, and Johnny Cash fetishism) and not look like a total retard. Sure his drummer looked like a white supremacist child molester, but at least he wasn’t wearing Creepers.
I’d seen Chelsea Wolfe walking around the club beforehand. She was wearing a black (what I believe to be) monkey fur coat. It was enormous making her hard to miss. She stuck out like some rare bird on exhibit at a millionaire’s party at the beginning of the industrial revolution. When I looked at her, her eyes and head turned down in the fashion of someone who spent a childhood being tormented by far less special creatures.
On stage she arranged some items, most of which were obscured by the greasy black hair of a goth in front of me, but I think I saw the skull of an Ibex. A waifish male uncovered a keyboard from under a heavy black sheet; a miniscule violinist prepared herself. The crowd murmured its drunken excitement.
Before that night I don’t think I ever heard a woman properly sing.
She looked like a witch in a Hammer horror film and sang like an angel. Her voice cut through the air and into the soul of every person there. It was colder than the night and bit twice as hard.
Her manner is effortless, that voice needs no provocation. I find myself wishing Chelsea and I were friends so that when I was feeling the world was just a great big ball of shit I could call her up and have her sing to me and remind me something’s out there are beautiful.
If I had to complain, the set just wasn’t long enough.