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“Welcome to Night Vale” podcast releases live show

Gwen Hanford

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Everyone’s favorite weird podcast is back on the road again. “Welcome to Night Vale” has released its fifth live show, “All Hail,” onto the world, and it is as wonderfully strange as fans could have hoped. This new show brings old and new fans alike to the friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass overhead.

“Night Vale” was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Kramer back in 2012 and passed to 100-episode milestone at the end of last year. This is the fifth show that has been taken on tour, and there is currently one original novel that has been published, with another coming later this year. The premise of show can be difficult to explainto those unfamiliar; H.P. Lovecraft meets community radio is the best I can do. In an interview, Fink claims that he came up with the idea after imagining a town where every conspiracy theory is true. It takes place in a small town where strange happenings are mundane to the locals. This is a town where hooded figures roam the streets, a literal five headed dragon runs for mayor and helicopters from an unnamed government agency occasionally steal children, though they usually bring them back. Much like Lovecraft stories, the characters are confronted with horrors that would shatter most people’s concept of reality. Yet the most frightening thing the residents can experience is street cleaning day.

All of the happenings in the town are related to the listener by the Night Vale Community Radio host Cecile Palmer. Voiced from the start by CecileBaldwin, he lends asoothing voice to theinsanity. Cecile is joined in the live show by a few other regular characters, including Deb, a sentient patch of haze who reads advertisements overthe radio, and Tamika Flynn, a teenage, book–wielding, rebel leaderwho fights corporate autocracies. There are two other established charactersappearing in “All Hail”who are being voicedfor the first time. The podcast is constantly abs-urd, and the seriousness with which the characters react is a source of endless comedy.

This time the show centers around the Glow Cloud which appeared early on in the first season of the show but has received very little development until now. The Glow Cloud appeared out of nowhere and has a hypnotic effect on all those around it which causes humanity to worship the cloud. It has a habit of dropping dead animals as it floats overhead and later joins the school board as president after enrolling its child at the local public school. All of this occurred in early episodes, and the Glow Cloud has received only passing mentions since. “All Hail” fixes this and does so in true “Night Vale” fashion, leaving the audience laughing and with something to think about.

The live show also features folk-rock musician Erin McKeown as the musical guest. She performs “You Cannot” and “The Queer Gospel,” which have appeared previously during the weather segment in different episodes of the podcast. Before seeing the show, I had not heard of McKeown and now regret that. She is an amazing singer and musician and definitely knows how to hold an audience.

“All Hail” had a few more performances for the spring tour, and then will be back in July for some more stops in the U.S. before heading to Europe. If you are unable to make any of the shows, the production company Night Vale Present makes all live shows available for paywhat-you-want on their website. You can listen to Cecile’s calm voice report the latest weird happenings almost anywhere you find podcast. And as always, good night Night Vale, good night.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
“Welcome to Night Vale” podcast releases live show