“Welcome to Night Vale”

“Welcome to Night Vale” is a podcast that combines elements of horror, surrealism, humor and just plain weird into one show. And on Jan.16, it came to Seattle.

The podcast has the  premise of a radio show for a small desert town where all conspiracy theories are true, Glow Clouds run the PTSA and Hooded Figures guard the forbidden Dog Park. “Welcome to Night Vale” has taken off in recent months with a large Internet following.

In Seattle, they sold out two shows at the Neptune, which seats 800 people.

The podcast features regular sections each episode, like a real news show. These include the community calendar, announcements from the terrifying city council and the well-known Secret Police and the weather (a different song by a different band that features in every episode.)

The live performance included these and more, including live “weather” from Jason Webley, whose song “Last Song” was featured on the weather previously and played before the live show.

The main actor of the show, Cecil Baldwin, was joined on stage tonight by Meg Bashwiner, Alex Guy and Jason Webley as musical and voice guests; additionally, Dylan Marron provided a pre-recorded  cameo as the voice of Carlos, Cecil’s long-term boyfriend.

The energy of the crowd was high at both shows; the crowd loudly reacted when something deemed noise-worthy happened—loud “aw”s when Cecil called Carlos, screams of terror upon learning that a librarian had escaped its cage and was loose in the town, laughter through most of the show. The audience sung along to the weather and screamed when instructed.

A fan favorite, judging by the screams of terror and delight, was when Cecil warned the listeners that the escaped librarian—in Night Vale, a fearsome reptilian creature with huge, fur-covered fangs—had run into a crowded theater.

His energy was infectious as he guided the crowd through the scene he was spinning as he  reported it live, instructing the audience to scream and sigh appropriately. Complemented by an energetic five-song set by Webley and Guy at the beginning, the energy in the room was loud and wild and excited.

Though all of the credit, of course, can’t go to the performers. The writers of the show, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink did an excellent job writing a never-before-heard script for Seattle audiences to enjoy.

If you missed the live show, you can still get involved with the podcast by downloading it for free on iTunes or listening to it for free from one of the locations linked to on their website, welcometonightvale.com.Plug in your headphones and hide. I promise you, the journey will be worth it. Click “play” on the first episode. And let Cecil welcome you… to Night Vale.

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