Interview: Jeffrey Vachon on Doom Lover’s Vaudevillian Spectacular, rock circuses, and taming lions


Despite his lion-like mane of flowing golden locks, Jeffrey Vachon doesn’t want to be tamed. The sonic ringerleader of Boston multi-genred rock troupe Doom Lover thrives on controlled chaos, and if there was a silent headliner on tomorrow night’s Vaudevillian Spectacular at the Middle East in Cambridge, it’s exactly that: a carnival-like environment, constantly at risk of spiraling out of control, and where the animals are actually musicians.

Pet at your own risk.

Organizing a Friday night bill that promises non-stop action, Doom Lover’s vaudeville approach takes various talents, music and beyond, from Boston’s scene and jam packs them into the Central Square rock club. In addition to live performances from noir-pop crooner Matthew Connor, indie-pop act Cordelia & the Buffalo, and the hydra-pop rock of Doom Lover, there’s intentional comedy from Lillian DeVane, poetry from Jade Sylvan, a contortionist performance by Dorothy Louisos, and other tricks and treats while Tad McKitterick of Sidewalk Driver serves as the night’s MC.


That’s a lot to look at.

In advance of the spectacle, we caught up with Vachon to get his take on the Vaudevillian theme, why this show stands out among the others, and taking this shit on the road across America.


Michael Marotta: So, at the top, why a Vaudeville theme?

Jeffrey Vachon: Well, whenever I make flyers, I like to look up the date of the show and see if anything remarkable happened then and design the flyer with whatever that thing is in mind. Two years ago (ahead of our first one of these), I happened to get a date that was on the anniversary of the first vaudeville theater opening right here in Boston. So I realized that instead of just a flyer, that should be the show.

So this isn’t the 1st one?

Nah, we did one two years ago at Precinct.


Nice! How’d it go?

It was a lot of fun. I think the whole thing was surprise to everyone.

Without ruining that surprise, what can people expect from this?

It sort of had a “We just discovered a new animal, lets see what it does when we give it beer” vibe. It’s more theatrical than a rock show, more rock and roll than anything you’ll see in a theater. There’s comedy, contortion… Tad.


Do you feel it’s important to stretch beyond the traditional “rock show” theme?

I do. We like to do things that are unique. There’s a four band bill everywhere, every night. There’s just so many rock shows.

It’s a good hook, especially when there are many other options on the calendar…


Exactly. I find a lot that the myth gets destroyed in between sets. You pretend the band is this big thing, then you have to watch them move drums.

So the idea, then, is non-stop entertainment?

Yeah, it should be seamless. I make a lot of spreadsheets. The plan is that it’s all one big show, not just one act after another.


So how did the lineup come together? Did you have certain performers in mind, or were there roles and/or slots that you first set out to fill?

Well, Tad MC’d the first one, so I couldn’t imagine having anyone else. Cordelia & the Buffalo came to us via Nikki’s ARCH contacts. Matthew Connor I saw play at ARCH and the first Orchids show. Lillian the comedian is an old pal of Geoff’s and works at Lone Star where we hang out and Dorothy the contortionist was a friend of a friend. Basically, the whole show is a testament to the networks people develop here. Everyone knows someone that does something they don’t do. And if we were all good at everything, we wouldn’t need each other. So we’ve got a really diverse pool of talent to show off that I hope reminds people just how much this city has to offer in the way of art.

The flyer Nicole Anguish made is awesome, I love the combination of new and old.

Yeah, I mean, Doom Lover’s whole thing is really just “look at all these things that can coexist!” So the show is also sort of a representation of the Doom Lover vision. If it were up to us, we’d probably just take this show on the road and have a rock and roll circus, doing solos on elephants and shit.

America needs that.

Right? Have a lion tame me! We also are just huge fans of things like the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense, The Last Waltz and the Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus. And something that just sort of happened organically with our show is the huge female presence. There are a lot of incredibly talented women involved with this show, which I think is a refreshing change from the normal “watch these 16 dudes rock!” show


I’m tired of dudes, personally.


DOOM LOVER’S VAUDEVILLIAN SPECTACULAR WITH MATTHEW CONNOR + CORDELIA & THE BUFFALO + MC TAD MCKITTERICK + CONTORTIONIST DOROTHY LOUISOS + LILLIAN DEVANE + JADE SYLVAN + MORE :: Friday, June 5 @ the Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge :: 8 p.m., 18-plus, $10 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Do617 event page


Doom VAudeville