Hey kids, Halloween's on Saturday. Of course you know that, but did you know that it's also your parents' favorite holiday? That's right, Halloween was once a children's festivity, with the occasional parent dressing up to humor/embarrass their kids. After stealing some of your candy, parents realized that pretending to be someone else for a night was far more fun than pretending to be themselves the other 364 days a year. Somewhere in there, Americans started spending eleventy million dollars a year on costumes for their pets, but I digress.
Halloween has become a cultural phenomenon. Kids get in costumes and go trick-or-treating, and adults get in costumes and get hammered and destroy public property. It's easy to understand why children love Halloween. Playing "pretend" for children is essentially a good time. Throwing candy in the mix is the icing on the icing.
Kids are allowed one day a year to go totally berserk and attempt to remove all their enamel. Adults, however, have this ability any day of the year. Want to dress up as Batman on Tuesday? Good news! You can! (h/t Lewis Black). Want to dress up as a prostitute on Wednesday and head down to Woodley Island Marina? Good news! You can! That's the glory of being an adult. Within limits, we can do whatever we want. We don't allow kids the same, so we give them one day to get drunk on said freedom.
So why do we adults continue to dress up on Halloween? It's part nostalgia and part pretending to be a kid. Either way, it's great for bands, because local venues get packed. Put on your costume (or don't) and support a band performing at your local watering hole. Remember, Halloween's for grownups too. Except the only doors we knock on are the wrong ones when we're too drunk to find our way home.
Want to hear music from a group that has studied it in academia, perhaps in a New England Conservatory? Well Thursday's the night, as Lake Street Dive will be divin' in at the Van Duzer Theater up at HSU. This band's been around more than 10 years and has slummed it on Conan, Letterman and Colbert. Citing the Beatles and The Band as influences makes them sound less pretentious. Students, just $15 for this 8 p.m. show. Everyone else, $46.
For a freer and less famously connected show, check out Roland Rock around the same time at Redwood Curtain Brewery.
Celebrating the music of punk-pagans The Misfits (bonus points for making the Danzig and upcoming Samhain connection), Side Iron will be performing the album Legacy of Brutality in its entirety. The band will be joined at The Shanty by The Gnards and The Lost Luvs. One of those bands, I hear, will be covering some Bad Religion. Probably a free show and probably at 9 p.m. or so.
Longtime Humboldt frequenters Mos Generator will be in town for Lord Ellis drummer Steve Bohner's birthday at the Alibi around 10 p.m. Shively punkers Blackplate join the aforementioned heavy rockers, all for just $7.
We've heard enough about Halloween already in this column haven't we? Well, for those of you that like to keep it old school, let's chat Samhain (pronounce sah-win). It's basically Halloween, minus the Chinese-made Star Wars costumes. A harvest festival, end-of-summer-type ancient holiday. Crested Hens will be performing Celtic and Irish songs for celebrants. Like the pagan parties of yore, this one's free at Gallagher's Irish Pub at 6 p.m.
The Trouble and Companion Animal will be at the Palm Lounge at 9 p.m. for just $5.
Supporting a "cassette compilation," Olympia indie-poppers Teach Me Equals will be joining local dream-poppers Stand Still at the Jambalaya for $10 at 9 p.m. Catch Humboldt legend and all-around nice guy Jaybird sitting in on drums.
Rising Appalachia, although out of Asheville, sounds (and looks) as if they were Arcata natives who spent their formative years at Burning Man. Sisters Leah and Chloe deliver socially conscious songs couched in folk, world music and poetry. $30 at the Arcata Theatre Lounge for this 8 p.m. show. Wear your best Burning Man costume (if you ever took it off).
The Van Duzer Theater's got the run of show this early week. Returning to Humboldt after traveling the world for a decade, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings will bring the soul. With a super tight band, you'll be glad you shelled out the $56 to see them at 8 p.m. You may also be jealous that the HSU students got to see them for just $15.
At the same location, you can hear Greensky Bluegrass, a band rooted in "classic stringband Americana," though not held to those confines. "We're a bluegrass band and a rock band, we're song driven and interested in extended improvisation" says mandolinist Paul Hoffman. "While some may see potential limitations because of our instrumentation," dobroist Anders Beck states, "a really big part of what is Greensky Bluegrass is about is to essentially ignore those limitations." Ignore limitations at the Van Duzer at 8 p.m. for $25 ($10 for students).
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of his breakout album, Matisyahu is on the road supporting Live at Stubb's Vol. III. Be prepared for a stripped down and intimate show at the Van Duzer. No stranger to the Billboard Reggae charts, this New York reggae-rapper will deliver some reworkings of his well-known hits along with songs from his recently released Akeda. 8 p.m. for this one, and again, the students get the killer deal of $15. For the rest of us, $46.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He doesn't feel bad for not mentioning your show that you never told him about.