On a spooky October night, the Welcome to Night Vale podcast brought its brand of mystery, paranormal, and delightfully weird humor to the Pantages Theater. Since it’s creation in 2012 this podcast has earned a cult following and frequently tours the country with live podcasts.
Night Vale is a podcast that follows the news of a fictional desert town where the unthinkable happens. Despite it being audio only storytelling, fans have taken to creating their own art surrounding the show. One fan even went as far as to dress as the mysterious glow cloud.
How can simple storytelling transport fans so deep into this fictional world that has never been seen? Simple: the music. Accompanying their weekly shows is original music from Disparition, along with weekly indie artists during the musical segment entitled “The Weather”.
When this podcast tours the country they bring the voice actors, Disparition, and a special musical guest. On this tour fans were treated to music from transgender singer Mal Blum. Blum delighted the audience with their charming blend of anti-folk and punk angst.
Never being signed to a record label, Blum has made a name for themselves with DIY production, collaborations, and strong narrative based song writing. Blum has frequently been featured on Night Vale’s weather segment and has been touring with them for the past year.
A perfect choice for a music act, Blum’s sound matched the tone for the night in a special way. Night Vale is known for its off-kilter and unexpected humor. I felt Blum’s stage presence worked well in this environment with self aware, ironic jokes mixed with confident and charming songs. If you want to check them out I recommend starting with the track “Better Than I Was”.
In building an unseen world, it’s obvious that the music plays an important part of this experience. Accompanying the night’s story was the artist Disparition. With use of electronic synths and guitar, Disparition has the most important job: setting the mood.
His music succeeded in the subtlest ways as he followed story beats and filled dramatic voids. At the helm of the night’s storytelling was voice of Night Vale Cecil Baldwin, Meg Bashwhinner, and Symphony Sanders, who all portrayed various fan favorite characters.
Although I can’t give away plot details of the show, I can say it was full of surprises. With its fusion of music, storytelling, and audience participation, fans of the podcast got to be immersed into a world that exists within their imagination.
As a long time fan of Night Vale, I found writing about this show to be challenging. In order to understand the world of Night Vale one just needs to give it a listen. From its ominous tone, unique new artists highlighted weekly, and amazing fan base, there is nothing quite like it.