As always, Halloween week brings out the walking dead in droves. Yes, I'm talking about musicians, those fair-skinned, unearthly creatures with stringy hair, red eyes and rotting teeth — those who only come out at night.
Along with the Jinx' annual Night of the Living Tribute Bands (see a related story in this issue), there are numerous "special occasion" shows on Halloween — which falls precariously on a Thursday this year — and its more or less accompanying weekend. To wit:
Thursday (Oct. 31)
"Season of the Witch" night at Dollhouse Productions brings together a creative coven of musical misses including Azar Swan, the Brooklyn duo consisting of Zohra Atash and Joshua Straw. Atash is a singer with extraordinary color in her voice — she sounds like dancefloor Kate Bush at her most outré, with blended reminders of both Bjork and Lene Lovitch (for those who remember her!) Azar Swan's synth-driven music is creepy, hypnotic and unforgettable (even the cover of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer"!)
Also on the Sparetime bill is the Florida-via-Brooklyn musician known as Delphic Oracle (aka Christiana Key), whose recently-released EP Watching the Fern is an intoxicating cocktail of synths, violins and compellingly dark poetry. The record was produced by Patrick Canaday of Gemini Stereo.
Savannah artist and all-around fascinator Dame Darcy apparently has some sort of All Hallows ritual planned, and New York singer/songwriter Tamryn is on board as the night's special DJ.
Doors open at 8, and you can get in (if you're 21+) for ten bucks.
Friday (Nov. 1)
• Halloween weekend always marks the annual resurrection of GAM, Savannah's psychedelic punk pioneers, for a painted pagan rock 'n' roll ritual at the Jinx, followed by the big, bad blood-wrestling competition.
GAM, which gives us elements of Queen, the Stones, the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls, was Savannah's great hope in the early 1990s — the city's most ambitiously creative band, with its best players. Then, as now, GAM included singer Keith Kozel, guitarist Kevin Rose, drummer Josh Safer, bassist Ronnie Kercey and violin maniac Ricardo Ochoa.
"We're all older now and we've all got our adult lives," Kozel, the proud father of a 3-month-old girl named Zelia, tells me. "We tried our best to make it in rock 'n' roll, and it doesn't always work out, all the glamor that it's supposed to be. We're lucky that we still get to play a show and lots of people come, and they all seem to enjoy it. And we have a good time playing with each other."
Speaking of the Velvets, Kozel says the GAM show will include at least one Lou Reed song. "He definitely was a true influence on alternative forms of music," Kozel adds. "And it's Halloween — time to remember and memorialize the dead."
• Philadelphia's lo-fi folkie/psych band Creepoid invades the Sparetime tonight, with a set from Savannah's own guitar fuzz distortionists in Blackrune, and the Boston thrash mob Ramming Speed, whose speed-metal-punk should send blood pumping through veins otherwise lulled into complacency by the others on the bill.
Saturday (Nov. 2)
• It's what Cusses singer Angel Bond refers to as a "wee No Control night" at Hang Fire, meaning it's an all-local rock 'n' roll party in the manner of those sweat-drenched dance parties her band used to host at No Control, their late and great rehearsal space. Be that as it may, this bash will feature Cusses, Electric Park, Wet Socks and my current favorite Savannah band, Niche. This is certain to be the last local show from Cusses in 2013, who are pretty much all set to start their second album. "We go away November 5th to go record in Nashville," Bond says. "Then I end up in Atlanta doing the vocals."
• Another Savannah tradition on this darkest of holidays is Turtleween, a big all-music bash hosted by the sporadically-appearing folkie-jam band Turtlefolk. This one happens on the parking lot stage at Tubby's in Thunderbolt, from 3 to 10 p.m. (with trick-or-treating for kids), and along with the titular Turtlefolk you can enjoy the outrageously cool Ultraviolet Hippopotamus (Boston psych), Dr. Dan Matrazzo & the Looters, Train Wrecks, the Andrew Gill Band, Poetry 'n' Lotion and the Epic Cycle. This evening of rock 'n' roll debauchery celebrates Turtlefolk's 10th anniversary (that's why it's called "A Decade of Destruction"), and will close with a costume contest and an after-midnight "And Friends" jam and once-in-a-decade anniversary set.