The horror

Music options abound for Halloween

Gov. Mortimer Leech
Photo by Destiny Bowman

If fending off zombies sounds more appealing than hearing “Monster Mash” at another costume party, never fear: Boulder musicians have much to offer this Halloween. Acts like Devotchka, Paper Bird, The Motet and more are coming to town, offering Halloween-themed concerts sure to rock the dead right out of their graves.

And at some shows, like The Widow’s Bane at Bohemian Biergarten on Oct. 31, undead creatures are even included with the price of admission. The Widow’s Bane is Boulder’s premiere zombie band, a group that terrifies and entertains mortals all year-round. Legend has it that, after they were each murdered by their lovers, the zombies spent the afterlife sailing and playing music aboard the devil’s ship. But before the vagrants drop anchor for their fourth annual Halloween Ball, their foul-mouthed front man, Gov. Mortimer Leech (Clay Rose), has a few zombie myths he’d like to see debunked.

“We’re well dressed, for one — we’ve had 300 years to hone our fashion sense so we’re not wearing ripped clothes,” Leech says. “People just expect me to grunt and moan, but I’ve been learning how to speak for centuries. And how could I eat so many brains and not be smart? Talk about brain food.”

The crusty crew begrudgingly plays on Halloween, despite the fact that some humans mistake them for normal people in zombie costumes. To clear things up, the zombies get dressed up too — this year they’re going as The Village People. But all Leech really cares about is pillaging and debauchery, which is the kind of spirit he knows he’ll see on Halloween.

“Get crazy, why not?” Leech says. “Especially on Devil’s Night — if you only serve the devil for one night you best be doing it with the twisted freaks at our show.”

The Widow’s Bane is just one of the Halloween-themed shows coming up this week. Check out Boulder Weekly’s other Boulder and Denver concert picks:

Oct. 25
The Pamlico Sound at the Lazy Dog, 1346 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-3355.

Over the last few years, The Pamlico Sound has built a reputation on knowing how to party. But the band’s résumé, stacked with multiple headlining gigs at venues like Bluebird Theater, The Fox Theatre and Boulder Theater, shows that the band has clearly tapped into a hungry niche in the local scene. The seven-piece outfit melds together funk and soul, while bursting with a big-band ensemble presence. With wailing vocals, psychedelic rhythms, and a Halloween show they’re calling a “Funkstravaganza,” it’s sure to be a groovy night.

Risen from the Dead! ft. Ska Skank Redemption at Moe’s Barbecue, 3295 S. Broadway, Englewood, 303-781-0414.

Moe’s Barbecue is kicking off a slew of Halloween events starting with a zombie-lovers fest titled Risen from the Dead! The show features local ska/swing/jazz group Ska Skank Redemption, who are self-described as “the sweetest singing crowbar to the face you’ll ever experience.” The bands plan to sing the zombies (who pay a discounted price) into a brains-eating frenzy. Other Halloween shows this week at Moe’s Barbecue include a Halloween Bash featuring SF1 (a local rapper/producer/emcee) on Oct. 30, and Evilive (a The Misfits tribute band) on Oct. 31.

Oct. 26
at Bluebird Theater, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-377-1666.

Bluebird Theater will host its 13th annual Halloween Hootenanny, featuring a costume contest and a chance to win tickets to Bluebird Theater shows. Music will be provided by boyhollow, the local DJ who founded Lipgloss, Denver’s long-running indie music dance party at Beauty Bar. Boyhollow will spin some of his favorite selections, which have previously included LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, The XX, New Order, The Cure and more.

Oct. 30
The Devil Makes Three
at eTown Hall, 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. 1535 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-443-8696.

The folk punk trio will make a stop in Boulder for a live recording at eTown Hall. The boisterous group is known for its unsettling, era-bending style, and delving into themes like loneliness, disasters and mortality. They will be joined by Parker Millsap, a blues/roots singer-songwriter. The Devil Makes Three will also perform its Halloween show on Nov. 1 at The Ogden Theatre with Shakey Graves.

Living Colour at the Gothic Theatre, 8 p.m. Tickets are $35. 3263 South Broadway, Englewood, 303-789-9206.

Responsible for “Cult of Personality,” which contains one of rock’s most anthemic, recognizable riffs, Living Colour is the stuff of ’80s heavy-metal legend. In its heyday, the band was a sort of grim reaper of funk, dragging the sound down into darker and heavier territory than it had ever been before. The group reunited in early 2000 with as much political vigor and propulsive energy as ever. Denver is the stop for its Jack-O-Lantern Ball.

Oct. 31
Paper Bird with Shakey Graves
at the Fox Theatre, 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-447-0095.

Paper Bird is breaking out its instruments and carefree harmonies for a good old-fashioned Halloween jamboree. The Denver folk darlings will perform many favorites, as well songs off of Rooms, their first release in two years. Joining them is Shakey Graves, a budding singer-songwriter who hails from Austin, Texas. Equipped with a homemade kick drum, guitar and a haunting warble to his voice, Shakey Graves is a Western specter who will add an extra twinge of darkness to the evening. The show’s theme is space cowboys, and costumes are encouraged.

Gin Doctors at Illegal Pete’s, 8 p.m. No cover charge. 270 South Broadway, Denver, 720-287-5233.

Tying a plaid flannel T-shirt around your waist and calling it grunge? Hoping people will guess you’re Rivers Cuomo and not just some bespectacled hipster? Then the Gin Doctors’ Halloweezer show may be the night for you. The ’90s cover band from Denver will perform Weezer’s Blue Album, along with a nostalgia-charged set that’ll bring some of your favorite bands (like The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, No Doubt and Smashing Pumpkins) back from the dead.

Nov. 1
at the Boulder Theater, 9 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. 2032 14th St. Boulder, 303-786-7030.

At this point, DeVotchKa has successfully cultivated an air of magic around its annual Halloween Celebration. The theatrical experience always features a theme, which has ranged from colonial America to Mayan apocalypse. And with elaborate decorations, visuals, and the band in full costume, fans have enjoyed going along for the ride.

For some, DeVotchKa as a favorite Halloween-night decadence may seem strange. Their worldwide fame, after all, came when the group provided the soundtrack to the delightfully quirky indie flick, Little Miss Sunshine. However, DeVotchKa has perfected an eerie, old-timey quality that, even at its most accessible, sounds like it could be floating out of the back of a gypsy caravan or echoing from a bustling, warm Eastern European cabaret down the road. Thanks to the variety of instruments played by skillful band members, as well as the sorrowful troubadour that is lead singer Nick Urata, there is an undeniable seediness that draws out lost souls on Halloween night. DeVotchKa will also play The Gothic Theatre on Oct. 31.

The Matt Flaherty Band at Conor O’Neill’s, 10 p.m. 1922 13th St., Boulder, 303-449-1922.

Many Front Range bands boast multi-talented musicians, so it’s a treat when new collaborations begin to form. The Matt Flaherty Band is one of those projects that’s very much a mad scientist concoction of local sounds. Matt Flaherty (Hot Soup) will shred his guitar alongside artists like Brian Adams (Great American Taxi), and Alex Johnson and Phil Johnson (Jet Edison) at their Halloween Bash.


Check out our other Halloween coverage: Music around Boulder; events around Boulder; haunted houses around Boulder.