Published on April 1st, 2015 | by Jessica Mickey0
The Music Farm Welcomes ‘Welcome to Night Vale’
On Tuesday night, March 31, the Music Farm switched gears from the usual musical fare, setting up rows of chairs and presenting a live sold-out performance of the cult podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” a subversively clever and funny program that has been referred to as “Lake Wobegon through the eyes of Stephen King.” In it, radio host Cecil Baldwin delivers the local news of his desert town, a town awash in paranormal activity, supernatural occurrences, and conspiracy theories. Throughout the podcast, listeners are treated to reoccurring characters, themes, and events through Baldwin’s articulate and deep, warm tone and dexterous delivery.
Opening the show was musical guest rapper/singer Dessa, part of the indie hip-hop collective Doomtree out of Minneapolis. Joined by musician Aby Wolf, the two quickly warmed the docile crowd, impressing them with their skillful flow and easy-going banter.
During the second song, Dessa passed a $10 bill into the audience, saying the bar would be closed during the “Night Vale” portion of the show and she would like a shot of Fireball. “It’s a test in faith!” she proclaimed. Not only did an audience member return with a shot and her change, she was treated to two more shots through the remainder of her five-song set. By the end, she was in the crowd, now on their feet at her request, and alit by cell phone flashlights.
The “Night Vale” portion of the show was greeted by thunderous applause and squeals as much-beloved Cecil Baldwin took the stage. Podcast composer Disparition sat to the side, surrounded by the tools of his trade to accompany Baldwin as he and fellow cast mates recited from the script in their hands, as if they were part of an old-time radio show.
Characters making their way to the mic to engage with Cecil included a sentient patch of haze that goes by the name “Deb” (Meg Bashwiner), who was hawking Dasani (and may or may not have poisoned the town’s water in attempt to sell her product); Carlos (Dylan Marron), a handsome Latino scientist that is the object of Cecil’s infatuation; intern Joseph Fink, the actual co-creator of the podcast; an inept Sheriff’s Secret Police spokesperson (podcast co-creator Jeffery Cranor), who is completely incapable of calming the townsfolk regarding a murder in the area; Tamika Flynn (Symphony Sanders), the 13-year old leader of a group of child vigilantes; and the hilariously portrayed John Peters (Mark Gagliardi) — “you know, the farmer.”
Longtime fans delighted in seeing familiar voices they had heard so long in the flesh, and the actors did not disappoint, committing to their characters and emoting to the back of the room. Of course, as the voice of Night Vale, Baldwin really was the glue that held it all together, engaging with the adoring and polite crowd while sticking to the script, expertly knowing when to pause for the laugh, and appearing to have a wonderful time on stage. All that’s left to say is “All Hail the Almighty Glow Cloud.”
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Photos by Jessica Mickey.
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