It may only be October 6th, but Halloween is going to be here before you know it. Remember how it felt like August yesterday? Where did September go? Don’t let the end of October catch you off guard like its cool, blustery beginnings have (at least here in NYC the weather has been nice and cool). This Halloween is certain to see a lot of dead celebrity costumes. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze – and if you’re an indie rock fan, I guarantee that you’re going to see some irritatingly ironic and irreverent takes on these, as well. If you thought that your boyfriend/girlfriend Kanye/Taylor Swift costume was oh-so-original, you better start thinking about different plans.
It’s not too early to start thinking about your plans for the night, either. If a bone-crushingly crowded party isn’t your cup of tea, and a night full of great music sounds more like your speed, you should start thinking about your options, and start convincing your friends that a show is a way better use of a Saturday night than getting hit on at a crowded bar by someone in a George Bush mask. There are some killer Halloween shows out there, and some are bound to sell out early. Here are my picks for best shows at a few cities around the country.
New York is the only place I’ve personally experienced Halloween outside of college, and it was absolutely insane. Attempting to walk down 6th Avenue was a nightmare, and getting a cab home at 3 AM, an absolute impossibility. That’s not to mention the freakiness of riding a Q train filled with people in masks carrying what I could only hope were fake guns. Catching an indie rock show is definitely a more laid-back way to spend the holiday. Besides, where else will anyone believe me that my jeans and hoodie costume is Todd P.?
There’s three New York shows I’d definitely recommend. The first is Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts at 171 Lomardy Street. Two solid Brooklyn bands, sure to attract a good Halloween crowd. If you’re looking for something a bit more on-par with the theme of the night, I’d suggest either World Inferno Friendship Society and O’Death at Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom or King Khan & BBQ Show plus Dum Dum Girls, Junior Boys, and Woodhands at The Bell House. The former is a perfect show for a spooky night. The genre-bending tunes of both bands are sure to delight, and with a band name like O’Death you can’t go wrong on Halloween. The Bell House is known for throwing great parties and drawing a laid-back but cool Brooklyn crowd. Start the night out with some crazy King Khan, and let it degenerate into awesome dance party with Woodhands and Junior Boys. Something for everyone.
If you live in Chicago and your default Halloween costume for the past five years has been Bob Dylan, then I think I know what you’ll be doing on Halloween. Even though it’s the priciest event on this list, coming in at $50, a Bob Dylan Halloween show has to be epic. He’s releasing a new album this winter, a Christmas album actually, so maybe he’ll have some new original material dedicated to this holiday, as well. Only thing is, probably best to leave your Dylan costume at home this year. If it’s tacky to wear a band’s t-shirt to their own concert, imagine how weird it is to come dressed like the band.
Los Angelenos have it good for Halloween. The weather is always warm, which means that you don’t have to think about how to incorporate boots, gloves, hats, scarves and a winter coat into your sexy Debbie Harry costume (it’s not easy, and the answer is usually tequila shots [just kidding, Mom!]). The clear and obvious choice for the night is the Dirty Projectors at the Jensen RecCenter Studio. I can think of nothing I’d rather be doing most nights more than seeing the Dirty Projectors. In a Los Angeles-appropriate blonde wig and thigh-high Debbie Harry boots, of course. If you’d like a little more oomph to your Halloween night plans (though Dave Longstreth’s vocals can be downright ghostly sometimes) try the classic Bouncing Souls at the El Ray Theatre. The classic hard-core band should be a ton of fun, especially on this holiday.
These Are Powers
There are, of course, great shows happening all over the country. Butthole Surfers, Men, and Peaches will be performing at Stubb’s in Austin, Texas. These Are Powers will play at 941 Theatre in Philadelphia. Walking skeleton, Bradford Cox, will be entertaining crowds with his second band Atlas Sound at Neuomos in Seattle. Actually, that’s a pretty good costume idea. Wear a skeleton costume, carry around a bottle of liquor, and tell people you’re Bradford Cox. See, where else would that work except at an indie rock show? No matter where you live, if you’re an indie-music-lover (and I know you are because you’re at BTR), then make sure to incorporate music into your Halloween holiday plans.
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– Madalyn Baldanzi