Turn up the tunes this Halloween at these local shows

Musician Dan Blakeslee as Doctor Gasp. Photo by Dan Blakeslee

Live music goes better than candy corn. Trust me on this as I send you on three consecutive nights of performances that will make this Halloween a holiday to remember.

I’ll be honest, Halloween hasn’t been the same for me since the year I was Wonder Woman and wore a store-bought plastic costume that would probably fetch a pretty penny now at a thrift store. I was about 8 years old and used a pillowcase to collect my candy, that was the Ponti way.

However, today’s Halloween offers a unique opportunity for many people to come up with a righteous, original costume and go out into the world in the days leading up to and including October 31st.

This week I’m sharing a few ways to infuse your Halloween with local live music. So, go through Spirit at the mall and get something epic, or break out the sewing machine and create something unique. You owe it to yourself to have fun, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than with live music.

A Halloween tribute to Radiohead and Portishead
20:00 Friday. Sun Tiki Studios, 375 Forest Ave., Portland, $15. suntikistudios.com
You’re going to go crazy if you’re a fan of either of these bands, because musician Jeff Beam and his gang of musical friends are presenting a Halloween tribute to both. Don’t be that person who refuses to dress up, put on a suit and be ready to enjoy two sets of tunes. The night kicks off with songs by Portishead featuring members of Jeff Beam’s band, as well as Micromasse, Builder of the House, Dead Man’s Clothes and The Milkman’s Union, along with other local luminaries. Then Beam and his friends will slay with a Radiohead band. Be a badass, be a weirdo!

Cosmic Halloween
20:30 Saturday. Space, 538 Congress St., Portland, $15. space538.org
Classic surf tunes mixed with experimental pop, a girl group inspired by TV shows and a legendary British punk band? This could only happen at the annual Halloween party in space. A Halloween tribute to The Beach Boys, Animal Collective, Josie and The Pussycats and Buzzcocks will be the entertainment of the night. Hearing the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’e)” live is reason enough to go to this show. Bands will consist of members of Adlt Grrrl, Gum Parker and Ossalot as Josie and the Pussycats; Lunch Cult as The Beach Boys; members of KGFreeze, Junesevere and Akela Moon as the Buzzcocks; and Amiright and Red Eft as Animal Collective.

Lore of the Jack-O’-Lantern with Brian Serven and Doctor Gasp (Dan Blakeslee)
18:30 Sunday. Space, 538 Congress St., Portland, $15 in advance, $18 day of. $10 for 18 and under/students. space538.org
This event combines music with a dramatic reading to celebrate the release of the Lore of the Jack-O’-Lantern audiobook by Brian Serven, and his reading will be supported by voice actors. Throughout, 14 illustrations by musician and artist Dan Blakeslee will be projected while you hear sound effects and live music. But that’s not all! The evening concludes with a performance by Blakeslee’s alter, Doctor Gasp, who will perform a set of Halloween tunes as only he can. Gasp sure does a great cover of “Monster Mash” and his original “Teeth of Candy Corn” is a creepy scream.

Liz Cooper. Photo courtesy of Wasserman Music

It Came From The Cellar Halloween Concert
19:00 Sunday. Oxbow Blending & Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland, $20 in advance, $25 at the door. eventbrite.com
Here’s a chance to hear three great artists while you choose from 10 vintage Oxbow beers. It Came From The Cellar features performances by Nashville-based indie rocker Liz Cooper; Burlington, Vermont, indie pop creator Lily Seabird; and Maine’s quirky post-punk quartet Lake Over Fire. These three acts are radically different from each other, so one moment you’ll be floating on ethereal clouds, the next you’ll be stomping your feet, then wildly shaking your head in gleeful frenzy. Come up with a costume situation and a designated driver and get a ticket for that sure hit of a night.

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