The witching season is upon us, and normally that would mean that this weekend is packed with Halloween parties. This year is a little different as the 31st falls on Thursday of next week, so we find ourselves splitting the difference with part of the parties happening on Saturday night and the rest falling on Halloween night to kick next weekend off early. Even so, there are still a few that have become annual highlights that are worth checking out on an already busy weekend. So if you want to maximize your Halloween and get started early, here are a few of your best options.
Have a Ball
First and foremost on the list is the Fifth annual Spider Ball at IDL Ballroom. Sponsored by Bacardi, this is the biggest open dance party of the season, spread throughout the IDL complex, across three rooms with eight DJs, two video specialists, photo booths and the requisite costume contests.
IDL Ballroom is the big room and it will be thumping all night long with Darku J, Zach Fast, and Krew X providing the mix all night long to keep everyone dancing. Over at Enso, the party is a little more reserved as Steve Cluck and Speedbump provide the tunes in a bit more sophisticated atmosphere.
If you're looking for the music and the dance floor to heat up, you'll want to join the Panic! crew in Electric Circus with Falkirk, Peppermint Fingerbangs, and Xylo Sesame with Logan Sours providing a special light show for the night.
This is an annual masquerade and costume ball, and Spider Ball has also become the premier costume contest in town. This year will be no different with trophies presented in six categories: Best Home Made Costume, Best Bought Costume, Sexiest Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Couples/Group Costume, and Best in Show -- which also wins the $500 grand prize.
Spider Ball has become the premier Halloween Dance Party and Costume Ball of the season with the IDL complex regularly packed to capacity. You'll want to get your tickets early for $9.50 plus service charges online or $10 in advance at Enso. Admission will be $10 cash ($15 credit) at the door for anyone in costume ($15 without costume) until the party reaches capacity. Doors open at 9pm.
If dancing is your thing, this is your party!
If you're more the live music type and just want a rock concert with a Halloween theme, you'll want to head over to "Rocktoberween at The Vanguard" for an all-night rock show and costume bash on Saturday night, Oct. 26. Initially, this show was supposed to include a performance by Wicked Wisdom (yes, Jada Pinkett Smith's soul-metal band), but the band's entire fall leg got canceled last week due to conflicts with Ms Smith's schedule. That's OK, though, because it loosens up the night's schedule to give it more of a party atmosphere.
Randall Shreve and the Sideshow will be the main event now, and Shreve will emcee the entire evening. This is a great fit, as Shreve and his band strike a dramatic middle ground between indie-rock and vaudevillian theatrics. These guys have already been through town a couple of times before and proved to put on a great show. Returning around the Halloween holiday plays right into the band's dramatic flair, so this one should be a great performance.
Tulsa bands Oldman and Spank give the night a local flair and also a heavier element to balance against Shreve's more melodically inclined indie-rock. Costumes are encouraged, but not required, and you know there will be music flowing between acts. There are even rumors that cover will be reduced to $5 if you're coming from the big party at the Brady and you show your Brady wristband.
Of course, the biggest bash of the season is always at Brady Theater and this year is no exception. If you're a veteran of this one, you know this is a huge bash that requires costume or black-tie attire. It's also an invite-only affair, but with the theater packed and people dancing on the stage and theater floor, surely you know someone with an invite, right?
This one is another late-night shindig that usually books at least five acts, and you know Bradio will be part of the party, bringing a mix of Beatles hits to the night's mix. Crossland is definitely part of the party, providing a fresh spin to the proceedings. I haven't heard a confirmation of the other acts, but rumors are that old favorites Charlie Redd and Full Flava Kings and Jenny Labow (possibly with Jumpshots) will also be playing.
If you've got your invite, you've got a copy of the lineup, but you're likely there to see and be seen. After all, this is the one is that everyone wants into, but when it gets a little too hot and stuffy, you can always bounce in and out and make your appearance at the other parties as well.
Whatever your Halloween plans may be, just make sure to enjoy yourself and make the most of wherever you land.
Monday night redemption
Once you escape the weekend, make sure to make your way to Mercury Lounge for what promises to be one of the best shows of the month with Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. If you haven't seen these guys and been exposed to their gospel of country blues, you're far past due for a baptism by fire.
Reverend Peyton has been through Tulsa a few times before, previously at Cain's Ballroom with Flogging Molly and most recently at Mercury Lounge in February 2011, but the band has continued to evolve, much as the Rev's songwriting and vocals have, making it time for a little revival meeting at the Merc this Monday night, Oct. 28.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is hard to categorize. At its purest, the band plays finger-style country blues. At its best, you'd probably call it barn-burnin', hell-fire and brimstone roots rock. According to the record charts, however, this is a legitimate blues band. The band's latest CD, Between the Ditches, debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes blues chart and No. 2 on the Billboard blues chart upon its release in September of last year. More telling, though, is the fact that it also debuted at No. 135 in the Billboard "Hot 200," showing that the group is now gaining attention outside of blues circles.
Big Damn Band
When discussing the record with Peyton, he said, "Some people have said they think this is our most finished or rock record, but I think this is the closest we've come to what I think we really are and what we sound like live.
"The majority of it was recorded live and we didn't do a lot of overdubs," he explained. "What we did do was build up the songs as they needed it. We've learned a lot about recording over the years and I think that allowed us to record what was needed."
Granted, this album is a far cry from the band's last disc, Peyton on Patton, a disc of Charlie Patton tunes that the band recorded circled around a single microphone with no overdubs.
"I thought that was really cool and I enjoyed that record, but when we came to this one I wanted to make a record you could just listen to and have it sound good to any fan," he said. "I think this record really changed things for us because it shined a different light on our previous records."
Part of that comes from Peyton approaching Between the Ditches with a particular vision of what he wanted to accomplish. Although the band worked with long-time friend and producer Paul Mahern, Peyton admitted, "I took a little more control this time. I told Paul 'I have some ideas in my head and I want to see them out...', but he's great at helping me get what I want out of the studio and the recordings."
That has fed a fire in Peyton and his band as he not only confided that he's currently working on two new records, but also that "usually at this point, I'm sick of the songs from the last record and I'm done with it, but not with this record."
He added: "There's something about it that I'm still really happy with, and there's not much I'd do different or change."
After being on the road full-time for over seven years, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is finally coming into its own, but The Reverend isn't taking anything for granted.
"I feel like we're getting better at writing and recording all the time," he said, "But I continue to work on that. I literally work on it every day: the live show, my songwriting, and trying to be innovative on finger-style guitar. I love to do it, so it's not a chore, but we're not at a place where we can get comfortable.
Maybe not, but The Reverend is still breaking ground as he throws down some killer finger-style licks on his resonator guitar, backed by his wife, Breezy Peyton, on washboard and Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell on drums.
The band has toured nationwide and even played in Europe over the past year, but is looking forward to more in 2014 as the group will be traveling to Israel and the Middle East. As for now, however, The Reverend is still enjoying the small shows and will be bringing his revival of soulful roots-rock and blues to Mercury Lounge on Monday night, Oct. 28. Get there early because it will be a packed house and you won't want to miss it when The Rev starts preaching the blues.
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After a relatively quiet week, Tulsa's music calendar is bursting at the seams this week. There are too many cool shows to hit all of them, but we'll try to pack in the best of the highlights, so let's get right to it:
Thursday, October 24
Coming in from left field, Broken Arrow PAC hosts perhaps the most intriguing show of the week as Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby play with The Kentucky Thunder as part of the "Spotlight Series." Looking downtown, Brady Theater will be rocking with Sleeping for Sirens, Memphis Mayfire, Breathe Carolina, and Issues packing the bill. And just around the corner, Abandon Kansas, Seabird, and Clemency play The Vanguard with local openers Carnegie and Roots & Lost Things.
Friday, October 25
This is the biggest night of the week as Keith Urban returns to BOK Center with Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch while Sleigh Bells packs Cain's Ballroom with Doldrums opening the show. Just down the street Dull Drums play The Yeti, Brandon Clark Trio rocks Hunt Club, and Vanguard hosts OPIATE: The Tool Experience.
Over at 18th and Boston, The Shrine holds a CD release party for Risk on Da Disk while Jesse Dayton and Eli Howard play Mercury Lounge. If you're willing to go out of your way for something extra cool, The Secret Post plays its Seventh anniversary show at the club where it initially debuted: The Tulsa Eagle. And don't forget about The Digital Age with Bellarive at Central Church of the Nazarene for a night of modern worship tunes.
Saturday, October 26
Broken Arrow PAC pulls another surprise out with Sinbad and Take 6. If you're looking for Halloween themes, check out the Spider Ball at IDL Ballroom or "Rocktoberween" at Vanguard with Randall Shreve & the Sideshow, Oldman, and Spank. Meanwhile, Ester Drang and Foreign Home team up for a great show at Fassler Hall while Travis McLearen & the Whiskey River Band play Hunt Club, OilBoom hits Mercury Lounge and The Shrine hosts Brad James with Cary Morin.
Sunday, October 27
You can relax with Jazz on the (Guthrie) Green in the afternoon with Mike Cameron Quintet, The Shadley Brothers, and Rebecca Ungerman before wrapping up your night with Paul Benjaman & Friends at The Colony. Or you can catch a full rap showcase at The Shrine with Jabee Williams, Alan Doyle, Mr. Burns, Big Rhab and more.
Monday, October 28
Don't miss it when Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band returns to Mercury Lounge for a special gig that will bring a packed house.
Tuesday, October 29
Widespread Panic brings a renewed energy to Brady Theater for the live music fans while Cain's Ballroom hosts DJ Bl3nd with Aaron Wayne and Jaiden for the dance crowd.
Wednesday, October 30
The week wraps up with a night of rock at Cain's Ballroom with Taking Back Sunday, Polar Bear Club, and Transit.
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