Every year around this time, I start to get excited for Halloween. It is, after all, the best holiday ever. But my excitement is tempered each October by the realization that I have once again forgotten to plan a costume. Every November 1, I swear I’ll get an earlier start next year, but I never do. So I scramble to throw something together last minute or recycle the ghosts of Halloween costumes past — can I rock Teen Wolf three years running? Does Jesus have one good party left in him?
I’m not the only one who deals with annual costume impotency. It’s a real problem, especially for those who want to be at one of the myriad great parties on Halloween, or during the weekend prior to October 31 when many of the rowdiest, most ghoulish affairs now happen.
So this year’s rundown of Halloween rocking once again includes costume suggestions. As always, any and all suggestions can also be made slutty. There is such a thing as tradition, after all.
Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for those hardy damned souls who choose to celebrate on the actual holiday. One such event at Nectar’s features the Grippo Funk Band . A Grippo show is always a good time, but this one also showcases the estimable Fattie Bumbalattie. Not only will Fattie B man the wheels of steel between sets, he’ll be coming out of semiretirement to rock the mic, with Grippo and co. backing him up.
Given the recent explosion of locally grown hip-hop, it’s important to remember that local b-boys and -girls haven’t always had it this good. One of the earliest iterations of Vermont hip-hop was Fattie B rhyming with Grippo’s band, often at Red Square. Those collaborations helped set the stage for the lively hip-hop scene we now enjoy. If you’re looking for a history lesson on the roots of local hip-hop, the Nectar’s show is a good place to start. Plus, the Aztext  might drop by for a song or two as well — more on them later in the column.
(Costume suggestions: Heavy D, the Fat Boys, Cyndi Lauper.)
Next up, and also on October 31, we have Return of the Night of the Living Dead Sessions  at the Hub Pizzeria & Pub in Johnson. I know, I know. Historically, this column has hardly been a bastion of good will toward jam music or tribute bands. However, Soundbites has always appreciated a good pun — and this is a great one from our local Grateful Dead acolytes. Plus, if you’re gonna dress up, musically speaking, as another band, is there a more appropriate time than Halloween?
(Costume suggestions: Jerry Garcia’s middle finger, anything tie-dyed, zombie hipster music critic.)
Moving on, and again on actual Halloween, Brooklyn’s Sound of Urchin  team up with locals Waylon Speed  for what might be the hardest-rocking show in the history of the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge. I’m not sure what tricks, or treats, either band has up their cutoff sleeves, but it’s a damned good thing HG offers earplugs.
(Costume suggestion: a bloody eardrum.)
Boston’s Dan Blakeslee  is bringing his Dr. Gasp’s Misshapen Jack-O’-Lantern Tour through our neck of the woods this week. The 31-date tour features all original, Halloween-themed folk music that nods and winks — and stabs — at classic cult horror music, television and film. You can catch Blakeslee, with the Shandies  and the Toes , at the ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh on Wednesday, October 24; with Vermont Joy Parade’s Duke Aeroplane  at Parker Pie Co. in West Glover on Thursday, October 25; and at Nutty Steph’s in Middlesex on Friday, October 26.
(Costume suggestions: Jack the Pumpkin King; Dan Bolles — for the Plattsburgh show only.)
This next one isn’t specifically Halloween themed, but since every installment of Metal Monday at Nectar’s kinda looks like a Halloween party, we’re including it. On Monday, October 29, nationally touring doom metal band Witch Mountain  headline the weekly fright fest, with support from locals Vaporizer  and Savage Hen — the latter is a side project of Lendway’s Matt Hagen and his beard.
(Costume suggestions: anything made by J. Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch, Matt Hagen’s beard.)
Finally, Halloween is pretty much prime time for local EDM/body-painting duo the Human Canvas . They’ll be busy this week with four Burlington-area appearances in celebration of All Hallows Eve. These include Friday, October 26, at the Red Square Blue Room; Saturday, October 27, at the Full Tank Underground Halloween Party at Speaking Volumes; Monday, October 29, at Mildred Moody’s Full Moon Masquerade with Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band  at Club Metronome; and October 31 at Electro-Halloween, an EDM throwdown at the Monkey House, with Serotheft , Kloptoscope , DJ Kanga  and A2VT .
(Costume suggestions: a red Solo cup — for the Speaking Volumes show — or go naked and be whatever THC decides to paint you.)
Two weeks ago, we reported that Learic of the Aztext had been selected to compete in BET’s Freestyle Friday competition  in Atlanta. Learic did Vermont proud, advancing to the competition’s second round and winning over the crowd in the process — I’m picturing an 8 Mile-type scene. Anyway, Learic writes that, while he’s disappointed not to have won, he was satisfied with his performance and made some good connections. He also hints at a few interesting opportunities on the horizon as a result of his competing. Stay tuned.
Local all-star jazz-icana trio — or Ameri-jazz trio? — After the Rodeo  dropped a new record recently called Live at Stu-Stu-Studio. It hasn’t come across my desk for review yet, but judging from the band’s pedigree — Pat Melvin (Zack duPont Band) on bass, D. Davis (Red Hot Juba) on guitar and Matt Schrag (Big Spike) on mandolin and guitar — and what I’ve perused online, ’tis likely a beaut. They’ll be at On the Rise Bakery in Richmond this Friday, October 26.
Last, but not least, this just in from the Department of Shit That Can Only Happen in Vermont (and Maybe Alaska): Burlington’s best (only) comedy club, Levity, hosts a unique two-night standup showcase this weekend. “The Bearded Warrior Show” features local comics with beards (I woulda called it “The Beards of Comedy,” or maybe “What’s That on Your Face?” — but whatever). The lineup features the follicle-friendly follies of Mike Thomas, Adam Cook, Mule and 2012 Higher Ground Comedy Battle winner Kyle Gagnon, among others. And their beards. Check it out either Friday, October 26, or Saturday, October 27. No razors, please.
Once again, this week’s totally self-indulgent column segment, in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, eight-track player, etc., this week.
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Pinback, Information Retrieved
Bat for Lashes, The Haunted Man
Dolfish, I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay the Same