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Soundbites: Halloween Rock Roundup


Published October 30, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.

Spiritual Rez
  • Spiritual Rez

As regular readers know, Halloween is the official holiday of Soundbites. So, as has become tradition, we begin this week’s column with a rundown of some Halloween-themed shows happening over the weekend, complete with some stupid costume ideas specific to each show — and some bonus ideas later in the column, just because.

We begin with the Magic Hat Brewing Company’s Night of the Living Dead at the ECHO Center on Halloween — that’s Thursday, October 31. Back in the day, this party was held annually at the brewery, but as the company expanded and production increased, they stopped doing it because shutting down the whole operation for a party was a pain in the ass. I’ve never attended one. But when I worked for MH many moons ago, I was told they were legendary.

The reanimated party will feature music from Papadosio, Spiritual Rez and Serotheft, as well as the Human Canvas and the Schadenfreude Circus. Also, beer.

(Costume idea: zombie Alan Newman.)

Meanwhile, at Radio Bean, Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band will be holding down their weekly Thursday residency on Halloween night as Snow Wright & the Seven Dwarfs. There is no real news hook here. I just really loved that pun.

(Costume idea: Funky, the eighth dwarf.)

As mentioned last week, Signal Kitchen will play host to prodigal EDM duo Lazerdisk — who always perform in masks, BTW. Also on that bill are Plato Ears and a bulked-up version of hip-hop trio Set Up City, featuring an eight-member band backing vocalists J. Kaine and Tommy Alexander and DJ Zach Crawford.

(Costume idea: Daft Punk.)

At Nectar’s, Boston’s Richard James and the Name Changers wrap up their month-long Thursday residency at the club, adopting the persona of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Local wagon o’ funk Funkwagon open the show. Upstairs, Club Metronome welcomes dubstep trio Robotic Pirate Monkey from Boulder, Colo.

(Costume idea: George Clinton in a red Radio Flyer wagon.)

In Montpelier, Sweet Melissa’s plays host to local country band Canyonero, who will pay tribute to the late Gram Parsons, also on Halloween.

(Costume idea: a grievous angel or a flying burrito.)

Since Halloween falls on a Thursday, it’s essentially extended through the weekend because Halloween is awesome. As such, several shows don’t actually fall on the holiday proper.

One is local Iron Maiden tribute act Made in Iron — arguably the greatest tribute-band name ever — headlining a show at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge on Saturday, November 2. Opening is another local tribute act, the Demon Bell, who pay homage to gnarly Danish black metal band Mercyful Fate. By the way, MF were famously fronted by King Diamond, best known for his crazy falsetto and for wearing some seriously creepy face makeup. According to MII lead vocalist Jamie Lewis, when Demon Bell vocalist Ben Goodrich assumes the King Diamond character, the results are “scary enough to give you nightmares.”

(Costume idea: MiniKiss.)


While we’re on the subject of playing band dress-up, at Nectar’s on Tuesday, November 5, a crew of locals billing itself as Liquid Dookie are performing Green Day’s 1993 album, Dookie, in its entirety. The band features Sean Preece, Jer Coons, Dave DeCristo and Steve Hadeka — the last of whom is a Seven Days employee. Also on the bill paying homage to Green Day are Mac Swan & Black Holly and Trapper Keeper.

Liquid Dookie aren’t the only local tribute act on the slate this week, maybe just the most obscenely named. The Ken French-led Abraxas, a tribute to Carlos Santana, make their debut on Wednesday, October 30, also at Nectar’s. The sextet includes Carlos Velez, Jeff Salisbury, Caleb Bronz, Thom Carvey and Cobey Gatos.

(Costume idea: Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty.)

Continuing on a theme, some of the state’s finest female musicians are paying homage to troubled divas with a show they’re calling “Women on the Dark Side.” Performers include Abby Jenne, Miriam Bernardo, San Gordon, Linda Bassick, Jane Boxall Allen and several others. They’ll be serving up songs by the likes of such stars as Lana Del Rey, Adele and, of course, Amy Winehouse. The show will also feature belly dancers. Deeply troubled belly dancers. You can catch it this Friday, November 1, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge in South Burlington, and on Saturday, November 2, at Positive Pie in Montpelier.

(Costume idea: Miley Cyrus.)

In other news, there are still local bands making original music! And a brand-new one, The Mountain Says No, are set to make their debut at ArtsRiot in Burlington this Saturday, November 2, in support of Bronze Radio Return. By the way, the new band features Ben Maddox and Jedd Kettler from Farm.

(Costume idea: Farm tribute band.)

The preliminary rounds of the Vermont’s Funniest Comedian competition begin Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, at Nectar’s. Normally, this is the part of the column in which I’d handicap the field and lay odds on some favorites. But there are 60 contestants. So methinks I’ll wait until at least the semifinal and final rounds next week.

(Costume idea: slutty Nathan Hartswick.)

Folk fans, take note, heralded songwriter Tom Brosseau — whose gorgeous voice and guitar work on the anti-technology ballad “Cradle Your Device” NPR recently dubbed the “analog reprisal to our attachment to modern luxuries” — makes a pair of Vermont stops this week: Friday, November 1, at Radio Bean with Maryse Smith and Saturday, November 2, at the Worcester Town Hall with Kris Gruen and Rachel Ries.

By the way, Ries, whom local audiences may recognize from her work with Anaïs Mitchell, is a new Vermont resident, having relocated to Montpelier from New York City, and Chicago before that. Full disclosure: My sister was a frequent collaborator with Ries when they both lived in the Windy City.

Months after moving from its original Colchester location and after still more months of delays, South Burlington is finally getting another new live music venue, called … um, Venue. No, really, that’s the name. The club, which sits at 5 Market Street behind the Blue Mall, is celebrating with a weekend-long grand-opening bash beginning this Friday, November 1. It looks to be a sizable joint and will feature a mix of local and nationally touring bands, DJs and, apparently, male strippers. No kidding. On the calendar for Friday, November 15, is “Male Exotic Entertainment.”

(Costume idea: You’re on your own.)

Last but not least, this Saturday, November 2, is the annual daylong birthday bash at Radio Bean featuring, well, pretty much every band in town — split between two stages, no less. It’s almost hard to believe, but the Bean is turning 13 this year. That the cozy café is entering its teens means we’ll likely start some big changes in the months to come — voice cracking, sprouting hair in funny places, a lamp shop, etc.

In all seriousness, congratulations to Lee Anderson and co. Despite some long odds, Radio Bean has become an indispensable asset, an artistic and cultural hub whose influence reverberates throughout the local music community. So, thanks. And happy birthday!

Listening In

A peek at what was on my iPod, turntable, eight-track player, etc., this week.

Titus Andronicus, Local Business

Arcade Fire, Reflektor

Best Coast, Fade Away

Ryan Hemsworth, Guilt Trips

The Marketts, Surfing Scene