Still got some mojo and money left after Halloween weekend? Don’t put away your costume just yet.
Halloween is tonight, and there’s at least one more round of parties on tap, including a "Thriller"-inspired shindig at Valley Bar featuring the DJs of Motown on Mondays and Sean Watson’s always popular Halloween bash at Crescent Ballroom.
There’s no rest for the wicked beyond that, as the new month will kick off with several nights of great concerts happening around the Valley. Here’s a look at what’s on tap, including can’t-miss gigs by Napalm Death, Kaleo, Jonathan Richman, Joan Baez, and others. (Check out our online concert calendar for even more live music options this week.)
Halloween de Bizarre – Monday, October 31 – Crescent Ballroom
A word to the wise: if you’re planning to hanging out at the Crescent Ballroom on All Hallows Eve, you’d better be in costume. Seriously. It’s one of the entry requirements for the venue’s phenomenally popular Halloween party each year and will be strictly enforced. No joke. Also, it better not be something you’ve thrown together at the last second, considering the costumes that have been worn to Crescent’s yearly Halloween party are some of the best-looking and most clever in the Valley. Just ask Sean Watson, who’s DJed the event for the past several years and is always impressed by what he’s seen. “I swear to God, every year, those costumes get even better at that party. It’s insane. They're so good every year.” In other words, when you show up to the Crescent for Halloween de Bizarre on Monday, October 31, you’d better not be slacking off. Besides offering a nonstop parade of killer costumes, the affair will feature Watson spinning bass-motivated sounds in the concert hall along with Blossom and DJ Cormac. Meanwhile, an outdoor stage setup along Second Avenue will host performances by MRCH, Hi-Dreams DJ Collective, and Snake! Snake! Snakes!, the latter of which will fill their set with covers of the Strokes. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Paper Bird – Tuesday, November 1 – The Rebel Lounge
Look at the cover of Paper Bird’s eponymous album. Standing clustered together in Old West-style garb on a white background, the band’s shades of Fleetwood Mac are apparent. Musically, the Denver band strikes numerous similarities to the Stevie Nicks-fronted group. With multiple female harmonies, catchy hooks, and driving pop songs, the appeal is undeniable. Singer/keyboardist Genevieve Patterson doesn’t run from such comparisons. “We were really inspired by Fleetwood Mac,” Patterson admits. “That was a band that really spoke to us — just because of the similarities, like the male/female thing, multiple writers, and just how in-depth and varied their records are.” Co-produced by John Oates, the album is also a huge departure from previous releases. Gone is the gothic folk of stand-up bass, banjo, and acoustic elements more at home on the back porch than the rock clubs the new electric instrumentation supports. The band’s triple female harmonic leads have given way to a classic single lead/backup harmony structure. That’s not to say the band doesn’t fall into the old vocal patterns — and over a rock beat, the merged voices become a powerful weapon. All told, the album appears to accomplish Patterson’s goal: “You can listen to it again and again and again.” GLENN BURNSILVER
Joan Baez – Tuesday, November 1 – Celebrity Theatre
True story: In late January 1991, along with about 25,000 folks peacefully protesting Desert Storm in front of the Federal building in San Francisco, I got to hear Joan Baez sing in person for the first and only time. To say the 75-year-old Baez, who lives in Northern California, has a beautiful voice is not merely an insult to understatement. It's like saying the Beatles were just a rock band. Baez burst onto the pop and folk scene in 1959, and for the next few decades was one of the best-known female vocalists in the world. Her covers of "House of the Rising Sun" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by the Band will make the small hairs on the back of your neck stand up, as will her Any Day Now record, which she did in 1968 with ex-lover Bob Dylan. Even though her voice has changed over the years, she's still one heck of a singer. TOM REARDON
Napalm Death – Wednesday, November 2 – Club Red
Since 1981, Birmingham, England-based extreme-metal band Napalm Death has consistently redefined and reinvented what it means to create heavy music. Pioneers of the grindcore scene, the men of Napalm (of which there have been many over the years) have made it their business to melt faces and create as brutally uncompromising a noise as possible. In the early days, the band was often dismissed as a novelty band, particularly by an unimpressed music press. But 35 years later, they’re still around and still taking no prisoners. Barney Greenway has been the frontman with Napalm since 1989 (besides a bizarre few months in 1996 when the band switched singers with Extreme Noise Terror). Much like the band’s music, Greenway is razor-sharp and intelligent. The nature of the band’s music may lead some to believe that the members are one-dimensional and perhaps even Neanderthal-like, but nothing could be further from the truth. BRETT CALLWOOD
Mexrrissey – Wednesday, November 2 – Marquee Theatre
The Valley has more than its fair share of events dedicated to Morrissey and Smiths obsessives. For the fans, though, there is no such thing as Morrissey fatigue, and Mexrrissey is hardly typical Moz-fawning session. The group of musicians includes Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound), Sergio Mendoza (Orkestra Mendoza/Calexico) and Ceci Bastida, who got her start in the seminal Mexican alternative band Tijuana No! In this British/Mexican pop mash-up, lyrics are frequently sung in Spanish and horns heighten the melancholy of Morrissey’s music. The band has already made a splash in the U.K., where they sold out their London show. ¡Viva la Morrissey! LIZ OHANESIAN
The Garden – Wednesday, November 2 – The Rebel Lounge
Twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, who comprise the two-piece Orange County-based band the Garden, deliver a delicately balanced attack while properly embracing the constraint set by being just bass, drums, and vocals, and they do it with an aplomb that belies their tender age. Shears and Shears are definitely skilled on their instruments (Wyatt plays bass and sings and Fletcher plays drums and makes faces) and truly play some of the best genre-bending music out there right now. If you had to define The Garden, you might call them post-post punk or New Post-Punk, but even then, it's not really accurate.
The Garden has distinct qualities of punk, New Wave, no wave, (a dash of) glam, and fair amount of teen angst, even though the Shears boys aren’t teenagers anymore and refer to their sound as "Vada." Raised in a musically forward-thinking home (Dad Steve Shears drums for So-Cal punk heroes Shattered Faith and roadies for X), the twins seem to be extremely comfortable following any musical whim, although their talent and keen eye for fashion, irony, and sarcasm have shaped their musical output in a way that even the most jaded music reviewer would be reluctant to call their music "whimsical." Call it "Vada," we suppose, whatever the hell that means. TOM REARDON
Jonathan Richman – Thursday, November 3 – Valley Bar
Not liking Jonathan Richman is a bit like not liking Mr. Rogers. The Boston-bred singer radiates kindness and joy with a disarmingly naive charm. Once a forerunner of punk music with his band the Modern Lovers in the early 1970s, Richman's sweet, playful demeanor finds its natural home in the more simplified environs of an acoustic singer-songwriter. Richman hasn't released an album since 2010, but that's no problem with an enormous back catalog and an ever evolving live sound. JEREMY HALLOCK
Kaleo – Wednesday, November 2 – Livewire
This quartet quickly dominated the charts in Iceland shortly after the release of their debut album in 2013. Since then, Kaleo jetted off to the United States and made Texas their new home to not only immerse themselves in the American music that’s influenced their sound but to explore the wide ranging cultures in the states. Their music reflects their travels and is steeped in Rock and Roll, Blues and Americana. Their current single “No Good” rivals their best work yet and much like they did in Iceland, it won’t be too surprising if this group ends of wrangling their way onto the Billboard charts as well. MIKEL GALICIA
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Snow Tha Product – Thursday, November 3 – Club Red
A lot stands out when it comes to rapper Claudia A. Feliciano. As Snow Tha Product, the lyricist throws her Spanish-English wordplay at listeners in a brazen, unapologetic manner. She also balances her partying-and-drinking songs with tracks that serve up social and political commentary, fearlessly taking on issues faced by Chicanos and Latinos and often speaking to being a woman in a game dominated by hyper-masculinity. The California native made her way to Texas a handful of years ago, and since then, she’s been throwing down mixtapes like the Good Nights & Bad Mornings series and has collaborated with the likes of Krizz Kaliko and Tech N9ne. Snow Tha Product may have a home on major label Atlantic, but the rapper and singer still works hard to engage with her fans — who call themselves Product Pushers — in a down-to-earth way, through her staggering rhymes as well as her accessible social-network-oriented star persona. TOM MURPHY
Global Dance DJ Competition – Thursday, November 3 – Monarch Theatre
Competition, as the old saying goes, tends to bring the best out of people. As such, you can bet that the nine local mixmasters and selectors that will participate in the Global Dance DJ Competition Finals and Dance Competition on Thursday, November 3, will bring it and bring it hard to the Monarch Theatre. Each will serve up their “A” game while auditioning for an opening spot at this year’s Global Dance Festival Arizona later this month and will be judged on their skills on the mixers and abilities to rock the crowd. The field includes such burgeoning talents as Dark Mark, Robby Robb, Bryce “Decade” Holt, Ghost Effect, Highline, Arietta, Yokaii, and others. Meanwhile, local go-go dancers will also audition and compete during the evening for the chance to perform at the festival. (The field is limited to those 18-and-over and club attire is required.) BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN