The Top Ten Concerts of Halloween 2013

Simply put Halloween is a great night to party. Which is probably the reason it can be singled out as the day bands of all types are likely to play special shows. Of course there are some artists that just seem made for Halloween gigs.  It’s no surprise Alice Cooper and Nine Inch Nails both scheduled October 31st concerts this year, but for many acts, it’s just about having a fun time. More so than any other date, you can bet there will be
 exciting concerts in every corner of the country.  In 2013 that meant Thurston Moore with Chelsea Light Moving at Atlanta’s The Earl, Built to Spill at Richmond’s The Canal Club, Cold War Kids at Asheville’s Orange Peel, Polica at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom, Crocodiles at Austin’s Holy Mountain, Phantogram at Atlanta’s The Masquerade and hundreds more.  Even Fargo, North Dakota was in on the action with an Okkervil River show.  Halloween is also a national holiday for jam bands such as Widespread Panic (above right) who debuted various blues covers and Motorhead “Ace of Spades” in New Orleans, followed by a Blues Traveler after show.  Or Umphreys McGee – who mashed-up 1978’s Halloween movie theme with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (Michael Jackson) during their own “Hurt Bird Bath” in Milwaukee, WI (download or stream the full show here).

But which concerts offered the best tricks and treats this Halloween?  Read on the next two pages for a run down of the ten concerts with the most musical trickery and the sweetest surprises.  Did you witness any of these sets? Did you see a great performance that was left off this list?  Sound off in the comments below.

1 – White Denim, Tame Impala and The Flaming Lips

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco

Come to the Blood Bath

As per usual, The Flaming Lips sure had a lot going on this Halloween.  Ender’s Game opened that night in select theaters (featuring new music by the band), the band’s 24 hour tour documentary A Beautiful Fucking Experience premiered at midnight in San Francisco, and their new Peace Sword EP was released two days prior, as was the Peace and Paranoia EP with Tame Impala.  The key event however was the Halloween Blood Bath with White Denim and Tame Impala at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

As at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater warmup Blood Bath two nights before (photos and more), Wayne Coyne dressed as Stephen King’s “Carrie” and had a bucket of pig’s blood poured over him by Miley Ray Cyrus (herself atop a grizzly bear) at the start of the show.  Behind the stunt the Lips played 1978′s Halloween movie theme with Tame Impala’s Jay Watson dressed as Gumby on the teenage engineering OP-1 synth and a masked Kevin Parker on guitar.

Except it wasn’t really pig’s blood. Or Miley.

Kevin and Jay stayed on for the next song, “The W.A.N.D.”  The remainder of the Lips performance was fairly standard – scary Michael Myers masks excluded.  Recent setlists regulars “Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast”>”Silver Trembling Hands,” most of the songs from The Terror, “Race for the Prize,” “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton,” and DEVO cover “Gates of Steel” were followed by encores “Do You Realize???” (with Tame Impala, shown below) and “Always There, In Our Hearts.”  Speaking of DEVO, there were a ton of fans in great costumes at the concert – as you can see in this slideshow – including the mongoloid toasting to the left.

As much as a spectacle as the Lips were many there agree Tame Impala’s preceding set was even more so.  Before the show Wayne Coyne teased on instagram, “Dress as Michael Jackson from Thriller and get on stage with Tame Impala while they play Thriller tonight!!!

Dress as Michael Jackson

He wasn’t kidding.  Tame Impala really did play “Thriller” – in part anyway – at the end of “Elephant,” before seguing back to the Lonerism hit.  Aw, yes…it should be noted they did this while dressed as the Spice Girls.

Tame Impala dress up as The Spice Girls

Tame Impala

See more pictures at brooklynvegan

See more pictures at

The mood set by their ridiculous outfits apparently seeped into their playing throughout their jovial, jamming set.  One of the highlights of the entire night was (Lips drummer) Kliph Scurlock joining them on “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Another high point of the concert actually happened after the show, as an impromptu dance party erupted in the venue (watch via Matt’s link in the tweet below).

White Denim meanwhile have been busy recently promoting Corsicana Lemonade – their partially Jeff Tweedy produced LP – including their Late Show With David Letterman debut on October 18th with “Pretty Green” (watch).  Their set at the San Fran Blood Bath leaned heavily on the new album, released two days before Halloween, including set highlight “At Night in Dreams.”  Their opening set was limited in duration, but they got in the holiday spirit with wigs and colorful dresses:

White Denim

The funniest costume though was live Lip Jake Ingalls who dressed as Moonchild – a fan you’ll see upfront at many of the band’s shows.  Here she is on Halloween (middle, via sfweekly), followed by Jake:

In turn, Jake shared these photos on facebook – below.

More photos are below, and Instragrams from the show are collected here.


By all accounts it was a Halloween spectacular that couldn’t be topped.

Well, almost all accounts…

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