Is it me, or is the holiday season beginning earlier and earlier every year? Actually, allow me to rephrase that. Is it me, or is the season of bitching about how much earlier the holiday season is beginning, coming earlier and earlier every year?
Every fall, it seems we start seeing the telltale signs of the season a few weeks before we’re ready. Hell, two weeks ago — like, early October — some guy came into the 7D office hawking wreaths. The week before that, I received an email from a woman representing Tori Amos asking if I would be interested in talking with the famed songwriter to — I am not making this up — preview her new Christmas album, Midwinter Graces. Roughly three days later, a sampler of said album (available at fine retail outlets everywhere November 11!) arrived on my desk, gift wrapped like a bundle of fucking myrrh. Or maybe frankincense.
I know what you’re thinking. Tori Amos, the woman who once sang about masturbating in her bedroom whilst her Baptist preacher man pops gave a Bible lesson downstairs, made a Christmas album? That Tori Amos? Has the whole world gone mad?
Well, yes. Yes, it has — officially now. The even crazier part: The disc is actually half decent. Or at least not awful. Call it a Christmas miracle! But that’s not the point.
The point is that, like it or not, there is no escaping the preholiday blitz, especially when it starts on Labor Day. So even though our collective gut reaction is to sneer like Ebenezer Scrooge and brace ourselves for the insufferable blizzard of goodwill toward men, I propose the real solution should be this: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. But with one tiny caveat. The “holiday season” has to include the greatest holiday of them all, Halloween.
We lump Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve — OK, and “Kwanzaa” — together as one “season” because it makes sense from a calendar standpoint. But we also include Thanksgiving, even though it happens about a month prior. So is it really much of a stretch to roll the calendar back yet another month and include a celebration that people actually, you know, enjoy? I think not.
As an added bonus, if we start the holiday season a month earlier, we also get to officially observe some sadly overlooked November occasions, because, hey, it’s the holidays! These include Cookie Monster’s Birthday (11/02), Election Day (11/03, why isn’t this a national holiday already?) and, my personal favorite, Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day (11/30). And, yeah, that last one really exists, though it’s immediately followed by Stay at Home Because You’re Fired Day. But I digress.
Of all years, 2009 is especially well suited to begin this new tradition, because Halloween conveniently falls on a Saturday, and therefore basically means we can devote the entire weekend to ghoulish shenanigans. And you know how I love shenanigans.
So, in the spirit of the season, I present to you a thorough rundown of just about every cool, music-related Halloween happening I could find, listed in descending order of the awesomeness of the accompanying pun, as well as costume suggestions should you decide to attend.
And on that note, let me be the first to wish you happy holidays.
This Is Halloween
Radio Bean is the perennial winner of the best — or at least cutest — Halloween pun, “Hallowbean,” and is always a great option for Hallows Eve rockin’. One, the music is typically stellar. And two, the people watching is great because artsy hipster types know how to put together a costume — mostly cuz they practice pretty much every other day of the year. Zing!
Anyway, this year is no exception, as rowdy alt-whatever hooligans Pariah Beat take the stage along with not one but two Bill Mullins-led outfits, Persian Claws and surf-noir badasses Barbacoa.
Costume suggestion: zombie hipster. All you need are skinny jeans, a scarf and a bloody pitchfork.
Scaryoke, Saturday at Charlie O’s
Scaryoke. Charlie O’s. ’Nuff said.
Costume suggestion: Dan Bolles, because he loves that bar. Simply dye your hair red, don a fake beard and glasses, and wear one of those T-shirts that says, “Your Band Sucks.” Plus, if people look confused and don’t know who you are/I am, you can always tell them you’re dressed as Trey Anastasio.
Skeletons in the Closet! with Poof! and DJ Precious, Saturday at the Higher Ground Ballroom
From the fine, frenzied folks who brought you last year’s hedonistic Ghouls Gone Wild party comes yet another drag-ball extravaganza that’s guaranteed to … well, I don’t know if we can print what it’s guaranteed to do. But it will be fun. And fabulous.
Aaand, speaking of sweet transvestites — how’s this for a segue? — next door in the Showcase Lounge, the Barre Players will unleash two delicious performances of the stage version of the Rocky Horror Show.
Costume suggestion: Um … you’re on your own.
Halloween with Maddub, Saturday at Langdon Street Café
OK, so there’s nary a pun to be found here, unless you count the band, Maddub. What’s really of interest is that the long-running local electro-reggae outfit is … d-d-d-d-dead! Really. In the last couple of months the band has been on a local farewell tour of sorts, each performance bringing them ever closer to musical Zion. This one, sadly is their last.
Costume suggestion: Ras Trent.
Technologic: A Daft Punk Experience, Saturday at Lift.
Is there anything scarier than a cover band? How ’bout this: a DJ cover band! Spoooooky! Burlington’s house of house, Lift, hosts a Halloween tribute to Daft Punk, complete with a giant pyramid and two DJs dressed in Daft Punk’s famed robot costumes. There will be booty shakin’. And, I’ll just go out on a limb here, but you know how conservatively people dress when they go to a dance club, right? Well, it’s Halloween. Just sayin’.
Costume suggestion: slutty … whatever, really.
As mentioned in the spotlight here, amazingly, The Dirty Blondes are celebrating their 10th anniversary on the very night and in the very venue at which it all began. This is notable because, well, 10 years is a long time for a band to exist, especially in Burlington. Plus, most people assumed at least half of this incomparably raucous band would have gone the way of John Bonham years ago. Further, the show will mark the debut of the band’s new bass player Jesse Azarian. (Note: Their old bass player is fine. He just moved to California.) If you’re looking for me early on Halloween, this is where I’ll be, dressed as Teen Wolf.
Costume suggestion: not Teen Wolf.
OK. Technically, this is on Mischief Night, not Halloween. But the gist is the same. If you’ve never been, Nectar’s throws one of the grandest costume parties in the land. Seriously, it’s incredible. Plus, y’all love you some Michetti, as evidenced by their Daysies win — OK, split three ways — as Vermont’s best unsigned band. Oddly, on the Nectar’s website, the description for Greyspoke reads “playing a very special Hallo-Ween set.” Wonder what that’s all about?
Costume suggestion: Steve Vai or Mr. Richard Smoker.
Halloween Costume Contest with Bearquarium and Operation: Queen, Saturday at Nectar’s
As mentioned above, Nectar’s Halloween costume parties are legendary. If you’ve yet to see them, Bearquarium rules. And no, Operation: Queen is not a transgender surgery show on the Discovery Channel.
Costume suggestion: Anything but Michael Jackson. Do you seriously think you’ll be the only one who thought of that this year? Same goes for Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Patrick Swayze and any other celeb who died in 2009. Sorry.
Another awesome annual bash. If you’ve never been, each year a bunch of local bands dress up as their favorite bands and cover their tunes. All the proceeds go to keep 242 Main up and running until next Halloween. Everybody wins! Highlighting this year’s throwdown are Husbands AKA, doing their best Rancid impression — it’s a stretch, I know. Also on the bill are The Flood (The Misfits), Eternal Cowboy (Against Me!), Pub-lick (Social Distortion) and Pittsburgh Zombies (The Pixies).
Costume suggestion: Husbands AKA.
The Jazz Guys: They Rock, You Decide
A couple of weeks ago I posted a completely ridiculous video of local pop-rock jesters The Jazz Guys covering Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” on my blog, SolidState. And by “ridiculous,” I of course mean, “ridiculously awesome.” Since you all read my blog religiously, I’m sure you saw it in all of its Beach Boys-esque glory. But on the off chance that you were maybe out of town or in a coma or something, I’d advise you to check it out, like immediately. We’ll wait …
Anyway, that video prompted an impromptu brainstorming session between a member of the band and a 7D staffer. That session led to a brilliant idea, namely that the band do another cover vid, but this time they let you, loyal readers, decide which song it will be. Neat, right?
In the next few days, we should have the shortlist of songs for you to choose from up on the blog. Once the voting closes, The Jazz Guys will sequester themselves in the studio and make with the funny. Stay tuned …
Following up on last week’s opening rant, the word from the folks at The Skinny Pancake was that The New Familiars/Josh Panda show went exceedingly well. As in, according to Pancake booker Colleen Korniak, “record breaking.” I was sick, so I couldn’t attend the show to verify that report. But it appears my mojo remains intact, nonetheless. Phew! What’s more, I’ve been instructed to begin the design phase of my very own crêpe. Excellent. Speaking of which, it seems there was some confusion about my crêpe challenge last week. I was not suggesting that I get a free crêpe if the show drew well. That would be a serious breach of journalistic ethics. Rather, the deal was that I get a crepe special named after me, which is a slightly less serious breach. Glad we cleared that up.
Happy trails to Vermont Folk Instruments, which closed its doors on lower Church Street in Burlington recently. However, those who get a kick out of gawking at beautiful guitars they can’t possibly afford should take solace in the fact that the store has merged with its sister shop, Burlington Guitar and Amp on Main Street.
Welcome back, Andrew Parker-Renga! The traveling troubadour has just returned from what he reports to have been an excellent two-week tour through the Northeast and Midwest. This Friday he rocks a cozy homecoming show at Red Square.
Welcome home, Avi and Celia! This Thursday the sonorous sweethearts return to the 802 and turn it up to 11 with their new electric outfit, Hey Mama, at Club Metronome. The aforementioned Josh Panda opens.
Last but not least, it seems the live music experiment at JP’s Pub has ended and will be replaced with — drum roll, please! — karaoke. Sigh. Bet you didn’t see that coming, right? I, for one, am pretty bummed about this, and not just because the whole thing started because someone actually took me seriously when I flippantly suggested in this very column that the bar should do more live music. OK, it is that. But also, it was a good idea and should have worked, dammit. However, when God closes a dive bar stage, he opens another at an even divier bar, right? I wonder what the acoustics at the Olde Northender are like...