Oh, I do love me some Halloween. It is, without question, my absolute favorite holiday. Unlike Christmas or Easter, there are no religious overtones — quite the opposite, in fact. Unlike Thanksgiving — my second favorite holiday — there are no family obligations. (Note to my family: love you!) Unlike Independence Day, there is no forced patriotism. And, unlike Kwanzaa, I actually know what Halloween is. Halloween is simple. It’s fun. It’s goofy. There’s candy. What’s not to love?
If there is one drawback to Halloween, it’s that coming up with a good costume can be a challenge, especially if, like me, you put no thought into it whatsoever until the last minute. And with so much entertainment on the docket for the upcoming Halloween weekend, it’s important to dress the part. Of course, you could go the standard college-town route: Take an otherwise innocuous outfit — nun, priest, cop, nurse, etc. — and make it slutty. But you’re better than that, right? So what follows are some of the more interesting Halloween-themed options this week. And because our goal at Seven Days is to entertain and educate, we’re including costume suggestions for each show. You’re welcome. And happy Halloween!
Perhaps you’ve heard that renowned keyboardist Marco Benevento has been thrilling Radio Bean crowds these past few weeks during his ongoing residency. Well, in addition to his Friday-night sets at our favorite cozy hipster haunt, he’s also got a fascinating show coming up this Saturday, October 29, at the FlynnSpace. Benevento’s trio is performing an original score he composed to Roger Corman’s 1960 film adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, starring Vincent Price. Benevento’s moody score adds a new layer of diabolical creepiness to Corman’s cult classic. (Costume suggestion: hip-hop mogul Usher. Alternate suggestion: slutty Usher.)
Sticking with the FlynnSpace, this Friday, October 28, local gypsy-jazz ensemble Trio Gusto and Mike Martin celebrate the release of their new, self-titled record with a 1930s-style costume party in the versatile basement theater. French-styled swing has seen a renaissance in Vermont in recent years, as a number of talented bands have emerged to sate our collective hunger for manouche. However, Trio Gusto stand out for their progressive approach to the genre and a willingness to not be bound by hothouse conventions. Their repertoire spans a variety of terrain, from Serge Gainsbourg-styled French lounge to Georges Brassens-inspired chanson and even a touch of Cole Porter for good measure. But what makes Gusto unique is the pairing of Buck Maynard’s (ex-Buck & the Black Cats) Telecaster guitar and Geoff Kim’s slinky clarinet. As vocalist and acoustic guitarist Martin describes it in a recent email, they boast a “Django-meets-George Wills” sound. Sold. In addition to their original material, Martin writes that the band is reworking a few genre standards, which is rare in gypsy swing. Oh, and the lovely ladies of the Spielpalast Cabaret will serve as ushers for the evening. So there’s that. (Costume suggestion: duh. 1930s attire. Alternate suggestion: slutty 1930s attire.)
Meanwhile, in Montpelier, the main event is arguably a costume party with ’80s New Wave revivalists Hot Neon Magic, at the Black Door on Saturday, October 29. This one’s pretty self-explanatory: Just dress in anything remotely ’80s, which is inherently kind of slutty. Done and done.
Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which puts a damper on spooky shenanigans October 31. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hell to be raised that night. And who better to lead the party than the cool kids from DJ collective Bonjour-Hi!? The crew takes over the Blue Room at Red Square on Monday, October 31, for an epic monster mash(up). Also, I’m told DJ Treatz will dress like a leopard. Rawr! (Costume suggestion: not a leopard. Alternate suggestion: um … a cheetah?)
What better way to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve than by raising the dead? After a monthlong layoff, Metal Monday at Nectar’s is resurrected this week, highlighted (lowlighted?) by what will unfortunately be the final performance of MM cofounders Nefarious Frenzy — a side project of Lendway’s Matt Hagen, FYI. The band is losing its guitarist, Sean Baggs, who is moving to Florida. However, Nefarious managed to record a new album, which should find our eager ears soon. Also on the Helloween Metal Monday bill: Abaddon, Vaporizer and Boil the Whore. (Costume suggestion: Metal Monday usually kinda looks like Halloween anyway, so dress like Lendway. Alternate suggestion: slutty Lendway.)
Happy birthday, Radio Bean! It’s hard to believe, but the Burlington-based arts hub turns it up to 11 this year. Where does the time go? The java joint will host its annual scene-wide birthday bash this Saturday, October 29. The lineup features just about every friggin’ band in town. And free coffee.
Big doings in Montpelier this Friday, October 28, as acclaimed folk-punk trio the Devil Makes Three come to town to play “Stomp and Smash Irene” at the Vermont College of Fine Arts gymnasium to benefit the Vermont Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief for Farmers Fund. DM3 are also celebrating the release of a new live album called Stomp and Smash — get it? — which hit shelves on Tuesday, October 25. Also on the bill, honorary Vermonters the Toughcats and actual Vermonters Wooden Dinosaur.
Speaking of WD, the indie-folk outfit is fresh from an appearance with the Low Anthem and Joe Pug in New Hampshire last week and are nearing completion on a new record. That’ll be released on their own label and may be pressed to vinyl.
Speaking of new releases, I’m told the boys from Farm have been holed up in the Cave of Legends, hard at work on their next record. No word on when it might be done, but Farm’s Ben Maddox writes that the band has been churning out final mixes. Stay tuned.
Band Name of the Week: Spit Jack. This local punk outfit is quickly gaining a rep as the baddest band in the land, having been kicked out of two Vermont venues in recent months for some unseemly behavior. Will they go for the hat trick when they play Manhattan Pizza & Pub in Burlington this Saturday, October 29? I have no idea. But it might be worth attending to find out. And if they are booted, at least two other solid bands are on the bill: Skulls, who describe themselves as “struggling against the current of good vibes and happy hippies” in Burlington with a simple message of “senseless violence and drunken debauchery,” and the Queen City’s sons of Death, Rough Francis, who reportedly have a full-length in the works for the new year. By the way, Spit Jack also have a new EP on deck, Whiskey Eyes, slated for a December release. If any bars will still have them at that point, they might even have a release show. Fingers crossed.
Last but not least, safe travels to Alexandria Hall, aka tooth ache., who takes off on a lengthy national tour next week with Michael Collins (ex-Prince Rama). Before she goes, the lo-fi electro-pop tunesmith plays a tour-kickoff show this Friday at the BCA Center in Burlington with Collins, Son of Salami and Cosmic Matrix.
Once again, this week’s totally self-indulgent column segment, in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc., this week.
The Felice Brothers, Celebration, Florida
The Lumineers, The Lumineers
Gauntlet Hair, Gauntlet Hair
M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.
Little Red, Midnight Remember