Halloween News: 1999-2006
Here is a look back at our Halloween news coverage…
Bands Treat Fans For Halloween
Who would have ever thought The Slip would cover Poison’s "Every Rose Has Its Thorn?" This past weekend proved that anything is possible for a slew of bands hosting Halloween shows. The Slip rented out a roller rink in Narraganset, RI and along with guest keyboardist Peter Stolzman, covered songs from the 80’s, including Paul Simon’s "You Can Call Me Al," AC/DC’s "Hells Bells," Dire Straits’ "Money For Nothing," and The Talking Heads’ "Burning Down the House." Vocalist Jordi Dann, of Sofa King, joined the band for Cyndi Lauper’s "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." There were also 15-foot puppets prancing around and vintage films being projected. Jambands.com editor, Dean Budnick was even spotted skating with his eight-month-old daughter, Caroline in his arms.
moe. transformed Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City into a giant scene from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Fatcory." The show began with Al Schnier and Rob Derhak serenading the crowd from the third balcony with an acoustic wireless version of "Candy Man" from the Willy Wonka soundtrack. "Pure Imagination" and "Oompa Loompa" were the recurring themes of the night, popping up in various songs. Not only was there a touching wedding proposal at set break, but the house lights were kept off to during the intermission to maintain the cozy vibe. The performance also received a favorable review by Ann Powers of the New York Times, who called the show "amply spectacular." Powers concluded the review by complimenting the entire genre. "‘Jam band’ music may be the only regular source of spontaneity in pop right now," said Powers. "The uninitiated might be daunted by the prospect of enduring unfamiliar 20-minute songs, but open ears will be refreshed by it."
Percy Hill took fans on a journey to "Alice in Wonderland" at the The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. All of the band members were dressed as characters from the story, including former percussionist Zac Wilson, who was dressed as "Alice" and performed with the band all night. They opened with Jefferson Airplane’s "White Rabbit." Above the stage there was a giant storybook and a large rabbit would emerge and turn the page to correspond with the different songs. Other covers included Ted Nugent’s "Cat scratch Fever," during which keyboardist Nate Wilson played guitar, Traffic’s "Light Up," Juice Newton’s "Queen of Hearts," and Tom Petty’s "Don’t Come Around Here No More," (if you’ve seen the video, it’s the perfect song for the "Alice in Wonderland" theme). "It was beyond epic," said Percy Hill manager Allen Ostroy.
Strangefolk played the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, where the theme was "Where the Wild Things Are." The band played in front of Lissa Smith’s 20-foot high stage design. The show began with drummer Luke Smith reading part one of "Where the Wild Things Are." For the second set, the band dressed as "Max" from the story and all wore crowns. Luke then read part two of the fairy tale. The band also played Lou Reed’s "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" during which Luke concluded the story. For the encore, the band played the "Juicy Fruit" theme, while a dancer in a Juicy Fruit costume joined them on stage. "Viva Las Vegas" ended the show.
The Disco Biscuits Smash Pumpkins for Halloween
In front of a sold out crowd at Trax in Charlottesville, VA, the Disco Biscuits paid tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins last night, by doing just that. The Biscuits brought out members of its crew to join them on stage for the end of the set and Merchandiser Adam Davis sang Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” while lead guitarist Jon Gutwillig smashed pumpkins next to him with a tire iron. The band also covered the Halloween theme and Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell.”
Marc Ribot Jams with Medeski, Martin & Wood
Guitarist Mac Ribot sat in with Medeski, Martin & Wood last night at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Ribot joined the band for the entire second set. Phish lighting director Chris Kuroda was also on hand and ran the light show for the evening. Medeski, Martin & Wood donned Halloween costumes and performed three Jimi Hendrix songs throughout the night: “Third Stone From The Sun,” “Manic Depression” and “Hey Joe.” The band also played the appropriate original “Dracula.”
Spiderman Drops by String Cheese Incident Show
String Cheese Incident drummer Michael Travis was lowered from the rafters dressed as Spiderman at the beginning of last night’s sold out show at the State Theater in Portland, ME. As Travis descended, he shot spider webs at the audience as the band played the Spiderman theme. Later in the show, the band covered The Beatles’ “Come Together,” Phish’s “The Wedge” and KC and The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.”
moe. Visits the Land of Oz, Covers Dark Side of the Moon
moe. covered the classic Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon during the first set of last night’s Halloween show at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA. “The Wizard of Oz” was played on large video screens while the band performed dressed as characters from the film. Al Schnier went as Dorothy, Rob Derhak was The Cowardly Lion, Chuck Garvey performed as The Tin Man, Jim Loughlin was dressed as The Witch, and Vinnie Amico appeared as The Scarecrow. Special guests included Adam Ash on saxophone and Nancy Falco on vocals during “Great Gig In The Sky” and Kirk Juhas (Freebeerandchicken) on keyboards for the entire show.
Costumes, Contests Enliven Oysterhead and moe. Halloween Shows
Halloween themes prevailed during performances by Oysterhead at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium and moe at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. moe celebrated its "Sensory Overload Show" by wearing hats and capes emblazoned with symbols representing particular senses. Meanwhile at the Fillmore, Oysterhead also was attired for the holiday, with Trey Anastasio in particular eliciting comment by donning Jon Fishman’s signature dress.
In addition, both bands presented some musical costumes. Oysterhead sandwiches verses of "Armies on Ecstasy" with versions of the Kinks "All Day and All of the Night" and the Police’s "Walking on the Moon." Later, during "Birthday Boys" Anastasio also offered up lines from some of songs that Fishman often sings with Phish (including "Love You," "Bike" and "Cracklin’ Rosie"). moe’s covers included "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Frank Zappa’s "Stinkfoot." In addition, moe hosted a costume contest in the middle of "Recreational Chemistry" with many appropriately garbed individuals (and a few not-so-garbed) joining the band on stage.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Joins Widespread Panic for Rarities
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band joined Widespread Panic for much of its second set last night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. The DDBB, which opened the show, performed with Panic during a notable run that began with "Coconut," followed by Panic’s debut of Frank Zappa’s "Joe Garage" which segued into "Wild Thing" (a song the group had not played since 10/24/85) and then back into "Joe’s Garage." The brass-abetted Panic then launched into "Ball of Confusion" which it had last performed twelve years earlier on Halloween 1989 ("Ball of Confusion" is Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong tune which the Temptations took to #3 on the pop charts in 1970). Following "Ball of Confusion," Dirty Dozen drummer Terrence Higgins remained on stage for "Drums."
Tom Tom Club, Rahzel, John Barlow Appear with String Cheese Incident For Subway Ride on the A-Train
String Cheese Incident welcomed a number of special guests for its second set Wednesday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The band opened this set with a long segment structured as a tour of various subway stops on New York’s A-Train. John Barlow narrated the trip in the guise of poet Walt Whitman. This segment opened, with "Sweet Georgia Brown" (125th St) and then traveled south to 72nd street (the location of John Lennon’s former apartment, the Dakota) at which point Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Tom Tom Club joined String Cheese for "Instant Karma." Following "New York, New York" (42nd St) and "So What" (Greenwich Village) Rahzel appeared on beat box for "No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn." Barlow later returned for the encore to offer a midnight Halloween invocation in the spirit of Whitman after which Rahzel rejoined the group for "Shakedown Street."
The Disco Biscuits Improvise Score to Alice in Wonderland
Last night at the W.O.W. Hall in Eugene, Oregon, the Disco Biscuits improvised a score to the Disney animated classic, Alice In Wonderland. The band emerged during its second set and created a spontaneous soundtrack to the film, which was projected behind them. This is the quartet’s second such effort, having also improvised a set to Akira, on New Year’s Eve 1999, an effort which won them the inaugural Jammy in the Jam of the Year category.
Several bands donned costumes and revelled in the Halloween spirit last night. The members of String Cheese Incident dressed as dead rock stars for the second set of its show at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Michael Kang was Jimi Hendrix (and played a Stratocaster, which he also smashed later in the set), Keith Moseley was Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kyle Hollingsworth was Kurt Cobain, Michael Travis was Freddie Mercury and Billy Nershi was Jim Morrison. The second set consisted of covers sung by each member: "LA Woman," "Tightrope," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Fire"->"Voodoo Chile" and a rousing "We Are the Champions."
At the State Theatre in Portland, ME, Strangefolk wore replicas of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club suits and opened the show with the title track to the album, followed by "With a Little Help from My friends," sung by drummer Luke smith. The band dubbed keyboardist Don Scott "Bongo, the 5th Beatle." The show ended with the reprise of "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes and his guitar tech Brian Farmer dressed as each other (as some folks tend to confuse the two) at the Orpheum Theatre in New Orleans. Haynes wore Farmer’s signature t-shirt that reads "I’m Not Him."
At B.B. King’s in New York City, The New Deal paid tribute to Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay with a techno version of "Walk This Way." The show also included a extended take on Michael Jackson’s "Thriller."
Widespread Panic’s John Bell dressed as Cartman from South Park and Dave Schools was the Grim Reaper. The show, which took place at New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena, featured covers of James Brown’s "Sex Machine" and Nelly’s "Hot in Herre."
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe performed at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The "Monster Mash" set included "Frankenstein," "Werewolves of London," "Godzilla" > "Thriller" and "Spanish Castle."
Meanwhile, Leftover Salmon played The Fillmore in Denver, CO. The band opened the second set with “War Pigs,” with guitarist Vince Herman’s six-year old son sitting in on guitar. Vince wore a George Bush mask and his son wore a Ronald Regan mask. Both were dressed in suits as well.
Cover songs once again dominated set lists from coast to coast this weekend as bands celebrated Halloween. As promised, moe. paid tribute to big hair and cheesy light shows with “The Headbangers’ Left Ball: An Evening of Heavy moe.tal” at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The set list included classics such as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which opened the show, as well as Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law,” Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” and Motley Crue’s “Shout the Devil.” Appropriately, the members of moe. donned wigs, spandex and leather.
Meanwhile, Umprey’s McGee took the stage at the Murat Centre in Indianapolis dressed as Egyptians: Brendan Bayliss as a mummy, Jake Cinninger as a pharaoh, Joel Cummins as Moses, Kris Myers as a prince, Ryan Stasik as a woman and Andy Farag as a peasant. The group also covered Metallica, by kicking off the second set with “And Justice for All.” Other bust-outs included Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” and Huey Lewis and the News’ “Heart and Soul” (surprisingly, the band opted not to cover the obvious Bangles song).
Over in Ohio, Derek Trucks sat in with ekoostik hookah at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus. Trucks added guitar to “Through Hiker” midway through the first set.
At New York’s Madison Square Garden, Widespread Panic welcomed trumpeter Efrem Towns of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He joined in at the end of the first set for The Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime.” The remaining members of DDBB came out in the second set for “Love Is The Drug” > “Arleen” > “Coconut” > “The Time Warp.” The setlist also included a Ramones medley, featuring “Pet Sematary” > “Beat On The Brat” > “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
Up the street at Irving Plaza, Particle paid homage to legendary 70s dance club Studio 54. The show included takes on “Disco Inferno,” “Celebration,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Funky Town” and of course, “Stayin’ Alive.”
A bit farther north, The Slip took the stage at The Paradise in Boston, churning out classic rock songs such as Led Zeppelin’s “In The Light,” The Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” The Who’s “Baba O Riley” and Ben E King’s “Stand By Me.”
Down at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, Gov’t Mule was introduced as “Raven Black Knight & The Pimps,” (a play on Mule’s song “Raven Black Night” and Motown group Gladys Knight & the Pips) as Warren Haynes emerged dressed as a cop. Notable covers included the Adam’s Family Theme and the Munsters Theme, as well as Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself,” The Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” and Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” the latter two with Chris Robinson and Paul Stacey of New Earth Mud. Guitarist Brian Stoltz (Neville Brothers, Funky Meters) also joined in for “Out of the Rain” to close the second set.
The Politics of Cheese
The WePubliCan Party hosted its National Convention last evening at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI. The String Cheese Incident was also on hand for three sets of music, as in conjunction with Peak Experience Productions the group vested this year’s event with a poltical theme. This became clear from the get-go with some trenchant commentary on civil liberties issues as well as the war in Iraq. The band referenced these concerns during a second set of covers that began with Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” and also included The Clash’s “Rock The Casbah,” and Country Joe & The Fish’s “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag.” Much later in the evening the encore offered a version of Rage Against The Machine’s “Take The Power Back” sandwiched within “Rollover.” Also of note is that Michael Travis officially announced from the stage what had already been assumed by many folks, that Jason Hann is now an official member of the band.
Opryland Nuptials For Chuck Garvey (Maybe)
Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium served as the home for the Grand Old Opry for many years and also functioned as the site of last evening’s moe. show but during Sunday’s performance it also doubled as a wedding hall. Early in the second set, moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey and his longtime girlfriend Amy Ross were married by bass player Rob Derhak (and while some may see this as mock Daisy Mae/ Li’l Abner shtick, the word on the street is that Derhak was ordained on-line in order to perform the ceremony). As for the music, the quintet offered two sets of Nashville-infused music including covers of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “Eastbound and Down” and “Seven Bridges Road” along with re-arranged moe. compositions such as “Time Again” and “Bullet” (the latter appeared on some setlists as “Grassfinger”). The third set of the evening focused on moe. originals done up moe.-style including two of the new songs that the band began performing his tour, “The Road" and “The Pit.”
John Popper Plays Ball With Particle
Particle’s PTV festivities started off in the proper spirit last night when the band emerged at Boston’s Roxy in Red Sox uniforms (the group later performed ”Where Everybody Knows Your Name” the theme from Cheers. From here the night was a mix of Particle originals and television themes. Rob Wasserman appeared during the first set on bass for “Magnum PI” and “Inspector Gadget” (alas, stepping off before the “A Team” that followed). Other covers included the anticipated “Mission: Impossible” and “Miami Vice” which bookended the show along with three selections abetted by John Popper on harp: “The Sopranos,” “That 70’s Show” and ”Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” Particle is off tonight and then at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN on Tuesday.
Widespread Panic’s Halloween Method
Widespread Panic has long celebrated Halloween by covering artists who traditionally exist outside the Panic universe. In deed, Dave Schools recently told Jambands.com that the group came up with the concept as a way to perform cuts by “Black Sabbath—-bands Panic never would have covered at that time.” Last night, as Vegoose drew to a close, Widespread Panic celebrated Halloween by offering five unique covers “Born Under A Bad Sign,” “I Put A Spell On You,” “Nowhere To Run Nowhere To Hide,” “Spirit In The Dark” and “Vampire Blues.” In addition, the group invited the Dirty Dozen Brass Band onstage for much of its performance beginning appropriately enough, with “Vampire Blues.” Crystal Method, who performed on the bill, also joined Widespread Panic and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the start of its second set for “Superstition,” a number the group debuted on Halloween night 1998.
Ewok & Roll for Breakfast
The Breakfast celebrated Halloween a few days early by hosting its 7th Annual Fonghoulish Freakout at Hartford, CT’s Webster Theater on October 29. Weaving a Star Wars theme into its show, the group ran through a number of selections from the popular space fantasy including “Duel Of The Fates,” “Cantina Song” and “Yoda’s Theme.” Nodding to the movie house responsible for George Lucas’ creation, the Breakfast also served up the “20th Century Fox Theme” before each set and also utilized lightsabers as instruments various points throughout its performance. “Star Wars Ending Credits” Theme served as an appropriate show closing number.
BC/DC Opens for the Black Crowes
The Black Crowes began its hiatus on Halloween 2001, only to return re-energized and ready to take the road by storm in March. So it seems fitting that the long feuding group closed out its year long tour with a Halloween performance at Chicago’s Riviera Theater. In addition to two full sets and a costume contest, the Black Crowes played a surprise opening set as BC/DC, running through AC/DC covers like “Rock n Roll Damnation,” “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be” and “Highway to Hell.” The Black Crowes will regroup on New Years Eve for a performance at Madison Square Garden before beginning work on its next studio album.
String Cheese and PGroove Dress as Jackson
Both the String Cheese Incident and Perpetual Groove celebrated Halloween this weekend by paying tribute to the once (and future?) King of Pop, Michael Jackson. On Saturday, String Cheese Incident closed out its first set at Las Vegas’s The Joint with a version of Jackson’s “Thriller,” which featured guest dancers dressed like the popular music video’s stars. String Cheese Incident also invited out the Panjea horn section of Chris Cuzme and Dan Sears for much of its first set, beginning with “Get Down Tonight” and “Black and White,” as well as its encore of “Miss Brown’s Teahouse.” During the String Cheese Incident’s second set, Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss left the poker table for a bit to join the group on “Hey Pocky Way.”
Perpetual Groove also celebrated with a Jackson themed set at Atlanta’s The Variety Playhouse last night. After nodding to Jacko with a Jackson 5 cover during its first set,Perpetual Groove returned to the stage as Zombies for a funky cover of “Thriller.” Foregoing a typical “themed” Halloween performance, Perpetual Groove offered a slew of gags including inviting Miami Vice’s Crockett & Tubbs onstage for, fittingly, “Crockett & Tubbs.” The group also displayed tombstones marking the passing of older PGroove songs and offered new take on several familiar tunes. Fans can see PGroove singer Brock Butler lead fans in the “Thriller” dance by clicking here.
Perpetual Groove Takes on Life Aquatic
It’s well known that the members of Perpetual Groove are big movie buffs, so it makes sense that the quartet’s annual Halloween celebrations traditionally nod to the band’s favorite films. Last night’s theme was Team Zissou (from Life Aquatic) and, fittingly, the band and its crew assumed their positions dressed in Team Zissou costumes. Nodding to the film’s soundtrack, the group opened its set with a first time cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” later debuting covers of the glam star’s “Life on Mars” and “Queen Bitch.” Throughout its performance, Perpetual Groove also ran through the The Life Aquatic theme and quoted from the movie periodically throughout its two-set show. Perpetual Groove will perform at Huntsville, AL’s Crossroads tonight.
Gory at the Quarry
ekoostik hookah spent the weekend at its home away from home, Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, celebrating Halloween with a number of its closest friends. Dubbed "Gory at the Quarry," the multi-band event also featured the Overtakers, Snake Oil Medicine Show, and The Chef Dave Band, among others. During its performance Saturday, Chef Dave’s Seth Davis and former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist Johnny Neel both emerged for “Bluebird, Music” and “Cure For The Blues” during the group’s set. ekoostik hookah will perform in Norcross, GA on November 17.
Tea Leaf Green Visits Star Wars
Tea Leaf Green took a cue from George Lucas during its Halloween performance at Boulder, CO’s Fox Theatre. Throughout its performance, the San Francisco-bred quartet performed a number of Star Wars scores, including the themes from all three films in the space fantasy’s original trilogy. During its encore, Tea Leaf Green also threw a handful of “Imperial Death March” and “Mos Eisley” teases into “Gasaholic.” The group dressed the part too, arriving as popular Star Wars characters. The Jammy award winners will perform at Denver’s Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom tonight.
Toubab Krewe at CMJ
A number of the artists and industry personalities we profiled in our 2005 Year in Review cited Toubab Krewe as their favorite new band. So its not surprising that 2006 has been a banner year for the Ashville, NC-bred group. After being asked to open this weekend’s Vegoose festivities, the members of Toubab Krewe brought their mentor, multi-instrumentalist Lamine Soumano, over from Africa for a few shows. Soumano has been on the road with the group since October 25, including its stops at Vegoose Saturday and New York’s Mercury Lounge Monday (which doubled as a CMJ showcase). Adding to last night’s Halloween festivities, Toubab Krewe dressed as ninjas throughout their CMJ performance. Toubab Krewe will perform at New Paltz, NY’s Bacchus Friday.
MMW + TMP
For the third year in a row, Medeski Martin and Wood celebrated Halloween at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings opened the festivities while dressed in a variety of Mexican costumes, before handing over the stage to the evening’s headliners. For most of its set, MMW performed as a quintet, expanding its lineup to include former Weather Report/Miles Davis Percussionist Airto Moreira and guitarist David Tronzo. Tronzo has worked with a variety of avant garde musicians, including John Cale, and was member of the seminal Lounge Lizards. Moreira’s wife, Flora Purim, also performed on a handful of cuts, including a set closing version of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” During its encore, MMW performed songs from its new album with John Scofield and confirmed that MSMW will perform at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on November 24 and 25.
The Disco Biscuits: In the Flesh
The Disco Biscuits kicked off of its first national club tour in some time with a Halloween performance at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. During the group’s two set show, the quartet offered up a handful of covers, including Pink Floyd’s “In The Flesh” (which the band members have not performed since their Zex Sea days over a decade ago), Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (from the play Carmina Burana), and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (which featured the Boston Symphony Orchestra Choir on backing vocals). Sean Hennessey, who auditioned for the Disco Biscuits’ drum spot last year, also played percussion throughout the group’s performance, while guitarist Jon Gutwillig debuted a new synthesizer setup. The Disco Biscuits will perform at Ithaca, NY’s State Theater tonight.
Anastasio in Austin
After offering three shows in Las Vegas during Vegoose, Trey Anastasio traveled to Austin for a Halloween performance at Stubb’s BBQ with his solo band. During his second set, Anastasio invited out Austin transplant Ivan Neville and the Texas-based Grooveline Horns (Carlos Sosa, Fernie Castillo, and Ralo Vallejo) for “Mud City,” “Bar 17,” and “Push on Til the Day.” TAB-alumnus Russell Remmington also appeared on the abovementioned selections, as well as “Plasma.” The Grooveline Horns’ resume includes work with both Neville and Blues Traveler, who used the horn trio on Bastardos!