Looking for a good graveyard smash? 

AlL right folks, by now everyone has likely recovered from the upsetting news that The Village People cancelled their Friday night appearance at The Savannah Civic Center.

Yet, that still doesn’t answer the lingering question – namely, just what would the bandmembers have worn for Halloween? Street clothes?

The good news is that plenty of high-quality local bands are providing musical entertainment at parties all around town.

So, if you’re all dressed up with no particular place to go, here’s a bat’s-eye view of your options for spooky music...

Now that the Construction Worker, Indian, Soldier, Cowboy, Cop, and Leather Biker Guy have left the building, there’s only one major show taking place on the 29th. That’s The 2nd Annual Ghost In The Post Halloween Costume Ball at American Legion Post #135 on the Southern end of Forsyth Park.

The first Ball was a smash success – a complete sellout that financed a renovation of the historic building’s ballroom.

This show starts at 8 pm with The 8-Tracks, an eclectic local cover band that specializes in obscure rock, country and soul tunes. They made their debut at last year’s event, and have since earned a devoted following with a setlist that includes everything from Elvis to the Pixies and from Jerry Reed to NRBQ.

Next up at 11:30 pm will be Superhorse. This 7-piece “All-star band” of locals (featuring members of City of Lindas, Splitfinger, and The Judge & The Jury) has been together for 12 years, and are jokingly referred to as Loch Ness Monsters of the Savannah scene, due to their rare shows. This will be their first gig since the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Their sound is often compared to such pre-punk avatars as The Velvet Underground, The Stones and The Stooges.

There will be a costume contest and a variety of door prizes as well. Tickets are available in advance at the Legion Bar, and at the door. (Note: I’m part of this show.)

Things heat up Saturday, with several other venues getting in on the action.

Pooler’s Daiquiri Depot welcomes back The Long Awaited, a local cover band that has become something of an unofficial house act at this large, newly-constructed nightspot.

Made up of drummer Mark Vacquer (Shut Up & Drive), vocalist Thomas Claxton (The Dynamic Duo), bassist Jon Schwalls (Big Nasty), and guitarist Troy Brown, this group’s repertoire draws on contemporary hard rock bands like Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters, and The Chili Peppers – plus esoteric album-oriented groups like Coldplay and King’s X.

With a take-no-prisoners attitude and a charismatic frontman (Claxton), they are well on their way to being one of the more notable bar bands in town. Their show starts at 9:30 pm, and will include a costume contest with cash prizes.

Downtown, River Street’s JJ Cagney’s offers their own costume contest backed by the double bill of The Greg Williams Band and Vermillion X. At first glance, this pairing of jam-influenced roots-rock and anachronistic, jangly, mood-music seems an odd matchup.

However, what both devoted classic rocker Williams and devout late-’80s throwbacks Vermillion X share is a devotion to songcraft and performance.

Whether or not Williams’ unabashed Hendrix and Hiatt-isms will seem incongruous with the spacey sonic textures of of guitarists Toby Taylor and Jeff Washburn remains to be seen, but I’m willing to wager they’ll complement each other quite nicely.

Over at The Jinx, one of Savannah’s most highly touted art-rock bands reunites after a couple years of inactivity.

Starting in the mid 1990s, GAM came to represent everything that was good about Savannah’s disjointed music scene. Their “Bowie meets The Jesus Lizard at a GWAR rehearsal” aesthetic was brashly unique and fairly out of step with the commercial marketplace.

But more than that, they were simply one of the finest live acts to ever call this town home, and a ticket to one of their shows almost always guaranteed a mind-blowingly good time. The current lineup (thrown together just for this gig) includes founding members Kevin F. Rose and Keith Kozel, as well as the group’s onetime bassist, Mike Walker, and newbie drummer Josh Safer.

While you’re waiting to see how this version of GAM holds up to foggy memories, you can observe Grayson Manor, an Atlanta-based retro metal act featuring frontman Brad Cox, that is obviously patterned after the glory days of Motley CrÜe, Poison and their ilk.

Brad’s good at what he does (at least as good as that idiot from Buckcherry), still, he’s no Jesse Camp...

Out on Ogeechee Road, singer and rock guitarist Buddy Corns provides backup for The Music Box’s costume contest with his band Eladnella. A prolific songwriter, Corns will likely include his own material in with the popular hits.

Meanwhile, in City Market, Savannah Blues is advertising “Total Armageddon.”

However, they’re also giving away hundreds of dollars in prizes, so you can enjoy your last few moments of life buying drinks for everyone in the bar.

Musical accompaniment for the annihilation of the Earth comes courtesy of Brett Bernard, whose electric blues and R & B band The Hitmen is a regular attraction there.

Sunday night at Locos Deli & Pub on Broughton Street, Passafire help’s ring in All Hallow’s Eve.

These guys seem to be more known outside of Savannah than in it (they’re on the road several weekends a month), but they’re one of the most impressive and invigorating original groups we have.

Drawing on reggae, rock and hip-hop for inspiration, their passionate and tricky amalgam of dancehall rhythms, soul music turnarounds and tongue-twisting lyrical couplets stands apart from virtually every other local band currently gigging.

And there you have it. More than enough great and varied live music to fill this entire holiday weekend.

And nary a construction worker in sight.


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Jim Reed

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