I’m not one to go bananas with the decorations, and I couldn’t care less about candy, but overall I am a big fan of Halloween. Aside from the laughable hysteria the holiday engenders among certain subsets of the population, I like the costumes the best. Whether they’re inventive, scary, slutty, wry, or Batman, your getup gives others an insight into your aspirations, sense of humor, and commitment to tomfoolery. For example, when the quiet young woman at your job dresses up as a foxy villain (The Baroness, Pris from Blade Runner, Guns-and-Bikini Sarah Palin), I dunno, maybe you’ll want to eat lunch with her more often. Or when the funniest dude you know wears a t-shirt with THIS IS MY COSTUME scrawled across the front in Sharpie, you can tell he probably has better things to do. Hey, at least that guy plays along, right?
Even if you can’t be bothered to write a lame joke on a t-shirt, there’s still plenty to like about Halloween, at least if you enjoy alcohol and music. The other thing I love about Satan’s Birthday (or whatever people who hand out Jack Chick tracts instead of Snickers call the holiday) is bar-hopping. This year’s circuit has something for just about everyone, from Jason and Freddy to Naughty Schoolgirl and Naughty Nurse.
If atmospheric evil is your bag, creep on over to The Chat Room Pub on the Near Southside. Fort Worth’s Pinkish Black, fresh off their tour with Kylesa, will be joined by the suffocating, robotic sludge of Denton’s Terminator 2 and electronic doom duo Curse, all the way from the land of Edgar Allen Poe. At the other end of the block, The Boiled Owl Tavern is worshipping at the altar of rock ’n’ roll with the newly renamed stoner-punk trio Vicious Firs (formerly Great Big Beluga) and Austin’s wheels-off husband/wife garage-rock duo Ghost Wolf. Further south of heaven (and on Hemphill), The Where House features indie pop from Dallas’ Dark Rooms, Oklahoma classic rockers Taddy Porter, and The Hanna Barbarians, who will probably sound like a big-tent revival, if big-tent revivals preached hedonism instead of temperance.
Over in the West 7th Street corridor, the parties are haunted by more dance-friendly spirits. Magnolia Motor Lounge has Poo Live Crew, which means you have a good chance of hearing “Thriller,” while The Grotto will serve up an eclectic bill of math-rock (Cleanup), spacey electro-prog (Botany, a.k.a. Spencer Stephenson), and Americana (Mills & Co.), with DJ Jordan Klein rounding out the night with old-school jams and New Wave pop.
No matter where you go, though, watch out for people who dress up as police officers because it’s their job. While I don’t believe in hell, jail is a very real place, and running into the non-sexy variety of cop while displaying one’s inebriation too blatantly, is an unpleasant way to scare yourself sober. –– Steve Steward
The Cellar Dresses Up
Speaking of dressing up, The Cellar, a.k.a. The Little Venue That Could, has recently added a tiny stage, some theatrical lights, and a purple, noise-dampening curtain to its newish upstairs music room. There’s also an actual sound booth, as opposed to a mixing board on a cocktail table. “The board probably has seven channels that work, but it’s a small room, and we don’t really need to mic too many things anyway,” said Luke McGlathery, Big City Folk frontman who hosts The Cellar’s open-mic on Monday nights.
Even if The Cellar’s venue aspirations are little more than a drum riser and a P.A., it’s getting there. Due to its small capacity, it’s easy to pack the house, making for those sweaty, intimate, unforgettable shows. McGlathery also has booked a pretty solid November, ranging from jazz on Friday night to a song swap on Saturday and metal, punk, and rock (Trollfinger, The Bulemics, and We’reWolves, to name a few) throughout. The downstairs bar, McGlathery said, is also slated for some renovations in the coming months. You might want to revel in this Berry Street staple’s ancient, scuzzy environs now, before it gets all new and fancy. –– S.S.
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