Several years ago, LA-based performer Veronique Chevalier launched Red Velvet Vaudeville Variety Show. During its existence, the performances won acclaim for bringing together an eclectic cross-section of performers linked together through the singer's witty MC stylings. Last night's event A Red Velvet & Sepiachord Evening of Steampunkery, held at Echo Curio, relied primarily on music, but still conveyed traces of vaudevillian presentation.
The evening was divided into halves, with each artist playing two short sets. Mixing together sentimental pop (Eli August), performance art (April Hava Shenkman), accordion-based comedy (Seth Bedford) and Victorian synthpop (Unextraordinary Gentlemen) is tricky, but the night moved quickly and cohesively. Chevalier performed one number with accordionist Seth Bedford in between each set.
Chevalier's character is the rumored “long lost granddaughter” of Maurice Chevalier, a French ballerina whose career was cut short when a crazed cowboy shot out the lights in a theater, causing her to fall into the orchestra pit. She has turned to cabaret as a creative outlet and, like all good cabaret artists, mixes randy tunes with dramatic cover songs sung in a very thick accent. The clip below is a cover of “People Are Strange” that has become a staple of her sets.
Veronique Chevalier “People Are Strange”
Unextraordinary Gentlemen were one of the evening's guests. Their sets reminded us alternately of Nick Cave, Virgin Prunes and Monty Python, the latter of which the band discussed in our interview from last Friday. Below is a clip of the trio performing “Black Iron Road.”